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Art and Cultural Heritage Law

A guide on sources for art and cultural heritage law research.

What You Will Find in This Guide

Art law and cultural heritage law are broad, interdisciplinary topics. Research on and the practice of art and cultural heritage law may involve understanding a variety of substantive legal issues.

This research guide is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to all facets of art law and cultural heritage law, but should provide a few useful starting points for research. On this page you'll find a few recent cases and issues related to art and cultural heritage law, as well as links to additional research guides that may assist you in your research. The links to the left will allow you to access the other pages of this guide, which include:

  • Books: organized into treatises, handbooks and other practice aids, textbooks and primary sources, study aids, books on art and art law, books on cultural heritage and law, books on art crimes and cultural heritage crimes, books on art and copyright and intellectual property available in the Biddle Law Library's collection.
  • Journals and Databases: links to specific journal titles related to art and cultural heritage law, tips for finding additional journal articles, and descriptions of and links to databases related to art, art law, and/or cultural heritage.
  • Blogs, Podcasts, and News: descriptions of and links to blogs and podcasts on art and cultural heritage, as well as links to some general legal news sites.
  • Organizations and Associations: descriptions of and links to webpages for several of the organizations and professional associations that work in these areas.

Recent Cases and Issues

A recent article in the New York Times summarizes some of the ways in which some rely on the secrecy of the art market to launder money, and recent Congressional interest to increase regulation of the art and antiquities markets. Graham Bowley, As Money Launderers Buy Dalís, U.S. Looks at Lifting the Veil on Art Sales, N.Y. Times, Jun. 19, 2021.


 

The heirs of Margaret and Ludwig Kainer have recently filed a federal lawsuit in Atlanta against named members of the Horowitz family and their foundation seeking to recover a Pisarro painting claimed to have been stolen from the Kainer family by Nazis. Colin Moynihan, Heirs Sue Over Ownership of a Pisarro, Saying It Was Seized by Nazis, N.Y. Times, May 13, 2021.


 

Image of a Warhol print based on a photograph of Prince taken by Lynn Goldsmith.

Andy Warhol, Prince (1984). Image available at: https://library-artstor-org.proxy.library.upenn.edu/asset/AWSS35953_35953_37477923.

This image is of a 1984 silk screen print by Andy Warhol, part of his Prince series of prints. Warhol's print is based on a photograph taken by Lynn Goldsmith in 1981. Whether Warhol's use of Goldsmith's photograph is considered a "fair use" under U.S. copyright law was recently considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals (Second Circuit) in Andy Warhol Found. for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith.


The Association of Art Museum Directors recently sparked a fierce debate among those in the museum community regarding the permissibility and advisability of selling ("deaccessioning") art from a museum's collections to pay for operating expenses. The organization issued a press release in April of 2020, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, to announce two resolutions not to sanction or censure any museum for using restricted fund and/or the proceeds from deaccessioned art for operating expenses. Press Release, Ass'n of Art Museum Dirs., AAMD Board of Trustees Approves Resolution to Provide Additional Financial Flexibility to Art Museums During Pandemic Crisis (Apr. 15, 2020); see also Robin Pogrebin & Zachary Small, Selling Art to Pay the Bills Divides the Nation's Museum Directors, N.Y. Times, Mar. 19, 2021.

Additional Research Guides To Aid Your Research

Guides from the Biddle Law Library

The following guides created by Biddle Law Librarians may be able to further assist you with your research. You can find more guides by clicking this link to the full list of research guides created by Biddle Law Librarians.


Guides from Other Law Libraries

Additionally, the following selected guides from other law libraries on art law and cultural heritage law may also have additional resources to help your research in these areas. Remember: research guides from other schools may provide links to materials not available at the Biddle Law Library or at the Penn Libraries. Review this link to the Biddle Law Library's Interlibrary Loan policy and/or reach out to a Biddle Law Librarian (using one of the methods in the "Contact a Biddle Librarian" box on this page) if you have questions about how to access materials.