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As the art market today continues to grow, there is an increased need for art market professionals with knowledge of the legal and ethical issues at hand. This course provides participants with an overview of some of those unique and important issues and participants will explore topics including: the artist-gallery relationship, title and ownership, warranties, auctions, expert opinions, theft, and forgery. Various ethics and policy issues that affect running an art business in a global market are explored during the course. Time is devoted to copyright with a focus on definitions of fair use and the moral rights of the artist, the First Amendment and obscenity in art, rights of publicity and privacy, restitution (including Nazi-era art), cultural property, museum acquisitions and deaccessioning, and artists’ estates. Discussions, debate, and mock contract negotiations aid in understanding and applying legal concepts and principles in a practical context. Ongoing art cases in the United States and abroad will inform the discussion.

Students will learn:

  • To identify critical legal issues specific to the art market, including the legal responsibilities of galleries, auction houses, art advisors, and collectors.
  • To understand the rights of artists, including copyright, fair use, and appropriation.
  • To recognize legal and ethical concerns surrounding the restitution of cultural property and case development around Nazi era looted art.
The Details
  • Course Dates

    Course Dates

    Dates: June 8 – June 19, 2020
    Times: Monday – Friday; 2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    Location: The course will take place at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, 570 Lexington Avenue, New York, 6th floor.
  • Faculty


    Coming in early 2020.
    Our instructors are award-winning Sotheby's Institute faculty, recognized thought leaders, and professional experts in the art world.
  • Sample Topics & Site Visits

    Sample Topics & Site Visits

    Sample Topics:

    • Legal definitions of art

    • Issues such as copyright, infringement, appropriation, fair use, and forgery

    • Controversial art and freedom of expression

    • Restitution of art stolen during the Nazi era

    • International transport of cultural property and the antiquities trade

    • Artist-gallery representation

    • Expert opinions on authenticity and valuation

    • Artists’ resale rights in Europe and the United States

    • Legal issues related to auctions

    Past site visits have included:
    Art law firms, art appraisal firms, AXA Art Insurance Agency headquarters, Arcis, a high-tech storage facility, and more.
    Past guest speakers have included:
    Art lawyers, forensic scientists, auction house experts, art insurers & handlers, art licensing executives, and corporate art collection managers

    Each summer, faculty update their syllabi to reflect current trends and exhibitions. Topics are not comprehensive and are subject to change.
  • Certificate Of Completion

    Certificate Of Completion

    The New York - Summer Institute offers its courses on a non-credit basis. Participants who attend the majority of classes receive a digital Certificate of Completion. This certificate can easily be added to social media networks.
  • Course Fees

    Course Fees

    Course: $2,400
    Institute Fees:

    • A $50 registration fee beginning March 16, 2020

    • This fee increases to $100 on April 16, 2020

    Course fees include course-based site visits, materials, and guest speakers. Transportation and accommodation are the responsibility of the participant.
    Register for Multiple Courses to Save:
    - Take one 2-week course: $2400
    - Take one 4-week course and one 2-week course: $5800 ($350 savings)
    - Take two 2-week courses: $4550 ($250 savings)
    Further offers may apply for additional coursework.
  • Further Details

    Further Details

    While our New York – Summer Institute is non-residential, our Housing Resources page provides essential information and external resources for participants researching their options. More information will be available in the coming weeks.
    All courses are conducted in English; a good working knowledge of the language’s spoken and written form is recommended, although no certification is required.
    International participants should review the U.S. Government’s official Visa website and contact their country of origin's embassy/government office before registering. Our New York – Summer Institute continuing education, non-credit courses do not qualify for student visa sponsorship.
  • Registration & Contact Information

    Registration & Contact Information

    The New York – Summer Institute is open to anyone at least eighteen years with a high school diploma or the equivalent. Registration requires basic personal information and full payment by credit or debit card.
    Website registration is available from our website 24/7.
    Click here to register now.
    Our Terms & Conditions include information on program details and cancellation policies. Once registration information and payment are received, an email confirmation will be sent to you within 24 hours.
    For further information, course advisement, or registration assistance, please contact:
    Hayley Black, Admissions Advisor

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