Thursday, 18 September 2014

What Real US Cultural Property Lawyers do...

William Pearlstein and Michael McCullough of Pearlstein & McCullough LLP:
have a combined 45 years of experience in counseling individuals and institutions in transactions, disputes, litigation and regulatory matters relating to the domestic and international trade in fine art, decorative art and collectibles. We understand the vocabulary of the art world, understand the concerns of dealers, collectors, auction houses, museums and non-profits, and have the seasoning to help clients navigate the special problems that often arise in the art market.[...] Sophisticated art market participants realize that prices have grown too high and legal risk has become too pervasive to conduct business casually. Pearlstein & McCullough LLP was founded in Spring 2014 to service the marketplace for sophisticated art-market counsel and to provide high-level legal services to the international art market.
In the past six months, their newsletter reveals they have already been engaged by the parties below in the following representative matters:
• Seller of an important ethnographic art collection
• Seller in private treaty sale/consignment of a $10 million contemporary painting
• Seller in private treaty sale of a $500,000 contemporary painting
• Buyer of a group of important Egyptian antiquities
• Buyer of a $4.5 million antiquity
• Dealer in sale of mid-six figure painting and mid-seven figure sculpture
• Museum purchase of important American Indian objects

• Dealer of an important 20th century sculpture in an authenticity dispute
• Dealer in settlement of claims arising out of the sale of a $1M painting sourced from Glafira Rosales and wrongly authenticated
• Estate in connection with a $1M Renaissance manuscript
• Two major US auction houses with regard to foreign patrimony claims
• Owner in connection with demand for return of rare manuscript acquired by public institution after a defective foreclosure sale
• Dealer in demand by foreign government for return of a $1M sculpture
• Dealer in demand by US museum for rescission of sale of a rare SE Asian sculpture

• Art and Antiques Trade Group in opposing efforts by US Fish and Wildlife Service and New York State legislature to restrict the trade in antique ivory (See recent Art Market Report on Trading Endangered Species)
• US collector of Latin American materials in evaluating potential exposure under foreign patrimony laws and US law
They list some impressive achievements here too. Their website contains no conspiracy theories, attempts to play the victim, alarmist half-truths and speculation, xenophobic snipes, attacks on foreign governments or other bodies, and does not host abrasive ad personam comments by metal detectorists and sockpuppets aimed at conservationists and other concerned people. True professionals, compared to some others in the field.

Sadly though I note the glaring omission of the clause "We understand and sympathise with the concerns of cultural property professionals about the need to help conserve a fragile and finite resource while satisfying the cultural and personal needs of our clients within the specific environment of today's art market".

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