Art law

GMW lawyers offers specialised art law services, with our experienced lawyers dedicated to representing our clients’ interests within the complex world of artistic creations and cultural heritage.

Purchase agreements

Investing in art can be a lucrative business, but it is not entirely risk-free. The sale or purchase of works of art still sometimes leads to disputes between the parties involved, especially when art is purchased remotely.

Examples include disputes regarding the provenance, age, attribution, quality and sale price of the artwork. A comprehensive purchase agreement can protect both buyer and seller from time-consuming and costly legal proceedings arising from misunderstandings, misplaced expectations or incorrect statements.

Loan agreements

Sharing collections through loans is an important activity of museums and sometimes private collectors. On the one hand, a flexible and pragmatic approach is needed to ensure that loan procedures are not too burdensome. On the other hand, it is recommended that a loan agreement clearly sets out the responsibilities of both parties to avoid misunderstandings.

Consignment agreements

In the case of consignment, the consignor delivers a work of art to the consignee, often a dealer or expert, for sale to third parties.

Although the consignor retains ownership of the object, consignment entails a number of risks. For instance, consignment makes an object more vulnerable to damage, theft or misappropriation. Clearly defined liability clauses in a consignment agreement are therefore essential.

Due diligence and provenance

An important distinguishing feature of a physical work of art is its longevity.

Consequently, it is to be expected that a work of art will change hands many times during its lifetime. Due diligence prior to the purchase of a work of art is necessary to reduce the likelihood of adverse consequences for the buyer. Although Dutch law presumes that a work of art was obtained in good faith, legal disputes arising from a claim can be costly, affect reputation, require a lot of effort and even lead to a depreciation in the value of the artwork in question.

Art restitution

Increasingly, governments, public institutions, businesses, minority groups and individuals are seeking to recover their stolen or lost art and cultural heritage through legal proceedings or alternative dispute resolution.

This applies to Holocaust survivors and their heirs who lost property involuntarily due to circumstances directly related to the Nazi regime, as well as indigenous communities and other victims of colonial and imperial plunder. The slow restitution process is due in part to the inaccessibility of information sources, statutes of limitations, a lack of international law, and fear of setting precedent. GMW can help you with art restitution.

In short, our dedicated art law lawyers are here to support clients in all legal aspects of the art world. Whether protecting creative works, negotiating contracts or resolving disputes, we are committed to legal excellence and protecting our clients’ artistic interests.

Our lawyers provide tailored advice on matters including:

We are happy to help you

Do you have a legal art law question? If so, please feel free to contact us.


Antoine de Werd

Antoine de Werd

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Wladimir Schmidt

Wladimir Schmidt

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Looking for an art law lawyer in The Hague?

GMW lawyers will be happy to help you with all your art law issues.

Do you have a question? Feel free to contact us.

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