Art @Law


Arte & Diritto

Getting The Deal Through

The Constantine Cannon London Art Law Team has edited the first ever volume of Art Law published by Getting the Deal Through.  The volume covers the laws of 11 countries.  The Constantine Cannon Team wrote the chapter on England & Wales.


Reproduced with permission from Law Business Research Ltd. This article was first published in Getting the Deal Through – Art Law 2018 (Published: May 2018). For further information please visit

Crossing boundaries – the art of export controls

Exporters of certain works of art and items of cultural interest need to be aware of the regulations that govern such exports – both the specific and the more general – or they run the risk of
breaking the law, write Till Vere-Hodge and Dhwani Patel.

Skeletons In Your Closet?

Why are unidentified Nazi-looted artworks still a problem in the year 2018? What can private collectors do if they discover a problematic artwork in their collection? Till Vere-Hodge (Senior Associate) and Emelyne Peticca (Paralegal) of Constantine Cannon LLP’s specialist Art and Cultural Property practice, explore.

The Art of Deaccessioning by Museums

Museums play an indispensable role in civil society. They collect, study, conserve and exhibit significant works of art from varied cultures and time periods. They make otherwise inaccessible art accessible and help increase the public’s engagement with art.

The Art of Lending

Building an esteemed art collection requires long-term commitment and meticulous research.  Maintaining the integrity and value of that collection requires more work.

UK anti-money laundering (AML) regime

The UK is traditionally ahead of the European curve on anti-money laundering and the UK government is likely to keep leading the way following the country’s departure from the European Union.

Trade bodies seek multi-pronged Brexit lobbying plan ahead of Great Repeal Act

The art and antiques trade is taking its Brexit concerns directly to government with the submission of a series of policy documents asking that art market interests are recognised.

Art, Auctions & Antiques: Lending to Museums

Public exhibitions thrive on the mutually beneficial relationship between private collectors and museums. For private collectors, lending artwork to museums confers numerous advantages.

Free agents?

Secret commissions and poorly defined relationships in art transactions pave the way for litigation, warn Pierre Valentin and Azmina Jasani.

South Asian Art Market Report 2017

On 19 January 2017, ArtTactic launched the inaugural South Asian Art Market Report 2017 in Mumbai.  The Report addresses key trends in the South Asian art market at what is a truly exciting time in its growth and development. Constantine Cannon LLP are delighted to partner with ArtTactic for this project, and have contributed to the Report an analysis of the ways in which South Asian artists can go about protecting their legacy, an issue that is of great importance to artists worldwide.

È responsabilità del compratore di un’opera verificarne l’autenticità

Pierre Valentin, avvocato e partner presso Constantine Cannon LLP a Londra, dirige un team di avvocati specializzati in diritto d’arte, che presta consulenza a collezionisti d’arte, case d’asta, mercanti, gallerie, artisti e musei.


To be in or not to be

They’re out. On 23 June, the British voted for the UK to leave the European Union.  The violence of the debate, the aggressiveness and the death of a member of Parliament, together with the deep geographic and demographic divisions revealed by the results, have left the government and the British people at sea.

The European Double-Tax Nightmare Brexit Scenario

But the free movement of goods around the EU, one of the bloc’s fundamental freedoms, is likely to “go out of the window” according to Pierre Valentin, a partner at Constantine Cannon, the law firm.

London’s Art Dealers Brace for Bargain Hunters Amid Brexit Chill

“There is a huge amount of uncertainty ahead, and markets don’t like uncertainty,” said Pierre Valentin, the partner in charge of the Art & Cultural Property Law Group practice at Constantine Cannon in London. “The art market is not different. I expect there would be repercussions.”

Brexit Confusion Stumps London’s Dealers

Journalists are making a brief tour of the waterfront to determine what the UK’s Brexit vote will mean for the near-term sales in London this week and the long-term prospects for London as an art dealing center.

Would Brexit destabilise the art market?

On 23 June, the British public will vote to leave or remain in the European Union. Would a ‘leave’ vote spell disaster for the UK’s thriving art trade, or open up new opportunities to it?

Protecting national heritage or stifling the German art market?

A bill designed to reform controls over the export of artworks, currently making its way through the German Parliament, has provoked uproar throughout German cultural circles. Pierre Valentin and Till Vere-Hodge examine its proposals and implications.

Art & Cultural Property

Art and cultural property law is well-established across the globe and cases involve varied and complicated legal issues. For an in-depth look at this subject, Lawyer Monthly reached out to Pierre Valentin, the founding partner of Constantine Cannon’s Art & Cultural Property Law Group, a specialist practice dedicated to providing legal advice to the international art market. The Group consists of Pierre and four associates: Azmina Jasani, Rose Guest, Till Vere-Hodge and Yulia Tosheva.

Art market ‘becoming more secretive’

But Pierre Valentin, the head of art at the law firm Constantine Cannon, said it was important to note the distinction between secrecy and privacy.

There are good reasons a person might want to keep their art holdings private, he said, such as to avoid alerting the world to their wealth and rendering themselves a criminal target.

Auction houses and art galleries are under a legal obligation while acting as their agent to protect the privacy of sellers, and they extend this to buyers too. This had to be balanced, he added, against a need to uncover an artwork’s chain of ownership if “question marks” arose.

Art lenders outside the US get creative

Meanwhile, Pierre Valentin and Azmina Jasani at the law firm Constantine Cannon, are lobbying the UK’s Law Commission to establish a register of borrowed works, akin to the US Universal Commercial Code system, which allows borrowers to retain works. Unless the system is reformed, the UK is “at a competitive disadvantage when compared to the United Stated”, the lawyers write on the firm’s website.

New Consumer remedies: be prepared

The Consumer Rights Act 2015, consolidating existing laws relating to consumers and introducing new rules, came into force on October 1. Here, Pierre Valentin and Azmina Jasani of law firm Constantine Cannon LLP set out its implications for the art and antiques business.

A Tug of War Over Art-Sales Transparency

These cases would seem to validate the assertion made at the Art Business Conference by Pierre Valentin, a partner in the London law firm Constantine Cannon, that to characterize the art market as unregulated was “complete nonsense,” since legal processes are at least in operation. He told delegates that research by his firm had shown that the British art market, for example, was governed by 167 laws and regulations, “and that figure was going up, not going down.” He did suggest, however, that there should be “targeted” measures to regulate “certain auction practices and certain types of insider dealing.”

The Art Market Unregulated? Absolutely Not.

Georgina Adam isn’t holding her breath waiting for the art market to police itself. But it turns out the worthies invited to the Art Business Conference she chaired in London had some very strong words to say about the supposed lack of regulation in the art market:

Specialist lawyer Pierre Valentin disposed of the notion that the market is totally unregulated: “The idea that it’s a lawless free-for-all is complete nonsense,” he said, citing the 167-plus laws and regulations that impact on the art trade.

Emerging art gets a fair Start

The subject of regulation of the art market and money laundering has never been more pressing, particularly since economist Nouriel Roubini brought it up at Davos this year. So it was inevitable that a number of panels at last week’s Art Business Conference in London [disclosure: I was conference chair] tackled this thorny subject. Specialist lawyer Pierre Valentin disposed of the notion that the market is totally unregulated: “The idea that it’s a lawless free-for-all is complete nonsense,” he said, citing the 167-plus laws and regulations that impact on the art trade.

The art of asset finance

There has been an explosion of activity in the market for art and collectables, including musical instruments, jewellery, classic cars and fine wine in recent years. Collectors are paying record sums and the market is more international than ever, with new players arriving from Asia, the Middle East, Russia and South America.

Cardsharps case shows Caravaggio’s lasting talent for trouble

Instead, explains Pierre Valentin, who heads Constantine Cannon’s art and cultural property law practice, “its potential was enough. In the art world there is increasingly litigation over how paintings should be described when sold at auction, with various gradations — a work can be attributed to, from the studio of or from the circle of an old master, down to being “after” the master, meaning that it’s a copy. A painting described in the upper gradations — for example, from the studio of — will realise a lot more than one which is ‘after’ an artist.”

Los Angeles art market hots up

The art market is often considered to be totally “unregulated” but, listening to art law specialist Pierre Valentin speaking last week at the Art Business Conference in London, this is not so. Aspects of the new EU consumer rights directive, which regulate “distance sales” (including sales over the internet) are many and complex, starting with the very definition of the term. Describing the rules as “draconian”, Valentin told an audience of art market professionals: “Don’t imagine that you can think, ‘I can’t be bothered with all this’”: not respecting the rules could be a criminal offence.

UK cracks down on auction rings

Dealers and collectors may also form auction rings to try to inflate prices for an artist or a group of works by pushing bids up. “If dealers with a dominant position in a given market were found to manipulate prices, by agreement among them or otherwise, they could be held in breach of competition law,” says Pierre Valentin, an art law specialist at the firm Constantine Cannon.

Burning Fake Chagall, Market Integrity versus Ownership Rights – A Zero Sum Game

According to a London-based art lawyer, Pierre Valentin, however, Lang’s contract was rather opaque on this point, “[s]ome contracts are more explicit. I haven’t seen this contract, but the paragraph was read to me and it’s not at all explicit… It should be absolutely clear.” (The Destruction Of Fakes, Pierre Valentin). What is clear is that France is a staunch enforcer of artists’ rights and its courts have upheld decisions to destroy works deemed fakes in the past.

British art collector sends painting to France to determine authenticity: French committee decides to burn it

“Some contracts are more explicit. I haven’t seen this contract, but the paragraph was read to me and it’s not at all explicit,” said Valentin, a London-based lawyer at the firm Constantine Cannon. “That’s really naughty. It should be absolutely clear.”

UK buyer’s ‘Chagall’ nude may be burned as a fake

“Some contracts are more explicit. I haven’t seen this contract, but the paragraph was read to me and it’s not at all explicit,” said Valentin, a London-based lawyer at the firm Constantine Cannon.

Fake or Fortune – or going up in Flames?

Such destruction is becoming so common that lawyers now advise collectors against sending art to the Continent to be checked. “It is a long-established practice in France,” says Pierre Valentin, an art specialist at the law firm Constantine Cannon. “It is to protect the market for an artist and to prevent others from selling the painting as an original. But there is clearly a tension between that and the property rights of the person who has acquired a canvas, sometimes by paying a big price.”

British owner of ‘fake’ Chagall told it will be destroyed

Two granddaughters of the Russian-French artist Marc Chagall are threatening to destroy a watercolour attributed to him after deciding it is a fake.

The man whose ‘real Chagall’ could now be burnt as a fake

Pierre Valentin, a specialist art lawyer, told the programme’s makers that two works purportedly by Joan Miró had been similarly destroyed as fakes. Their owners lost a legal fight and he does not believe that Lang can save the painting, even though he and his family have become attached to the forgery.

UK Law Change to Jeopardise Online Art Market

The UK’s online art market could be threatened by a change in legislation, The Art Newspaper reported today, 9 January. The new rules will allow bidders in web auctions to return items within 14 days of purchase.

Getting back art from Gurlitt’s hoard

The facts leading to the recent discovery of a hoard of art in a Munich apartment are now well known. The collection, found in the home of Cornelius Gurlitt, a reclusive 80-year-old, was assembled by his father, Hildebrand, a collector who worked as an art dealer before, during, and after the Second World War.

New rules threaten online art market in the UK

“The right to cancel is compatible with the auction of art and antiques,” says the art lawyer Pierre Valentin, a partner at Constantine Cannon LLP. “The new regulations might work for the sale of trinkets on eBay, but not for high-end works of art.”

La nouvelle regulation du commerce en ligne inquiète le marché de l’art britannique

Pierre Valentin, avocat spécialisé dans le marché de l’art, associé du cabinet d’avocats Constantine Cannon LPP, souligne dans The Art Newspaper que cette disposition est incompatible avec le marché de l’art, ainsi que celui des antiquités. En effet, ’un des arguments défavorables à ce type d’initiative, jusqu’à présent, était qu’une telle possibilité pourrait encourager des achats irresponsables et, donc, déséquilibrer le marché.

Doubts rise over Munich hoard returns

Statute of limitations laws may prevent previous owners successfully reclaiming art aquired during the Nazi purge of the late 1930’s that was hoarded in a Munich flat.

Changes to the UK Import VAT Regime

“Temporary Admission (TA) is a specific VAT importation regime,” says Pierre Valentin, partner and art law specialist at Constantine Cannon, who has highlighted the issue in his new blog, Art@Law.

Valentin goes it alone

Pierre Valentin, who headed the art law team at Withers LLP for nine years, has left to setup the London branch of the boutique US anti-trust group Constantine Cannon.