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ABC’s of Art Law: ‘A’ is for Authenticity (CLE)

About the Event

During the seminal trial of DeSole v. Knoedler, et al, attorneys for the defense showed an excerpt from the biopic about Pollack, where the painter is portrayed as an irresponsible drunkard. Was the objective to blame an artist for any confusion about their work based on the stereotypical behavior associated with creatives? Are artists, their life choices and or failure to keeping track of their works responsible for forgeries circulating in the market? Or is it the dealer or collector or advisor. or their attorney who are to blame for the confusion as to which works turn out to be authentic and which fail the test? Is the old saying “buyer beware” still able to protect dealer? What are the questions to be asked before investing in or insuring artworks for loan?

Market value as well as artist’s legacy are directly affected by the artworks’ authenticity. In the Knoedler case, collectors sought tremble damages from the dealer who sold them a painting wrongly- attributed to Mark Rothko, which in fact was painted by a Chinese-American painter Pei-Shen Qian and consigned by a con-artist Glafira Rosales to the venerable but flailing Knoedler gallery (now defunct). The procession of expert witnesses in the case included art experts, art historians, accountants and even scientists, all invited to help the court to ascertain the industry norm in handling valuable works of art.

Join the Center for Art Law in a conversation with a forensic scientist, Jennifer Mass, & art law and IP attorney, Jana Farmer, to learn about the intricacies behind the authentication of artwork and the legal issues lurking beneath the surface.

About Our Speaker

Jana S. Farmer is a partner in Wilson Elser’s New York Metro offices. She chairs the firm’s Art Law practice, and is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property and Technology Practice. Ms. Farmer represents clients in transactions and disputes involving sale and transfer of rights in artworks, protection of valuable creative assets, and a wide range of compliance matters. In the Art and Technology space, Ms. Farmer focuses on the development, acquisition, licensing and exploitation of intellectual property, including in transactions involving non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Ms. Farmer serves as an Advisor for the Center for Art Law.

Jennifer Mass, PhD is the President and Founder of Scientific Analysis of Fine Art, LLC and Professor of Cultural Heritage Science at Bard Graduate Center. She formed Scientific Analysis, LLC (SAFA) in 2007 because of the growing need for the objective material assessment of objects in the art market that complements the expertise of the connoisseur as well as conservation and provenance assessments. Jennifer and her colleagues at SAFA assist art collectors, dealers, auction houses, museums, insurance firms, and private conservation firms in addressing questions of attribution, state of preservation, mechanisms of degradation, and provenance of works ranging from antiquities to contemporary installations. Jennifer has edited numerous volumes on cultural heritage science, published dozens of papers in the scientific literature, and received worldwide media attention for her work on NPR’s Science Friday, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC, the L.A. Times, and the Guardian.


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