John Merryman, the author of The Civil Law Tradition and a pioneer in the field of Art Law died this week at the age of 95. There is a warm obituary to him in the Stanford Law School newsletter written by Sharon Driscoll; 'John Henry Merryman: Art Law Pioneer and Much-Loved Colleague' SLSNews 5th August 2015.
“In 1970 no one spoke of art law as a field for serious study or even as a subject for teaching. That art law is today recognized internationally as being essential to every country interested in protecting its cultural patrimony, by every American art museum as vital to the proper conduct of its trustees and by all artists as protecting their rights, is due in large measure to the publications and teachings of John Henry Merryman,” wrote the late art historian and Stanford Professor Albert Elsen in a 1987 Stanford Law Review tribute to Merryman, “Founding the Field of Art Law.” Merryman introduced the idea for the new course “Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts,” in 1970 to a somewhat skeptical law faculty. Merryman taught the course in 1971, the first of its kind. Elsen collaborated and co-taught with Merryman — the two delving into questions of tax, copyright, contracts, regulation, cultural property, ethics and more — creating a syllabus for the nascent field of study and publishing the groundbreaking book Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts, now in its fourth edition.There is a brief online bibliography of his key works here and a fuller one here.