24 August 2011


My property litigation partner, Alison Mould, has raised an interesting point. She tells me that permission may be required for attaching art to surfaces in premises that are let to the occupant.  Substantial works will require substantial hangings.  Anything more than the odd drawing pin may involve interacting with the fabric of the building and require a landlord's licence to alter.  Licences can take two or three months to obtain and so, if anticipating an exhibition or gallery, this is something that will need to be factored into the timetable.

There's good reason for landlords to be concerned.  One of our construction litigation partners, Frances Alderson, has a case where a building owner innocently hung several heavily framed paintings on a wall.  What he failed to check was whether the wall had been designed to take either the weight of the pictures or the movement in the wall caused by the weight.  In the event, the movement caused cracks, giving rise to a dispute as to who was to blame - the owner, the architect or the builders.

02 August 2011

Droit de suite

The reports last week of the decision of the Paris High Court regarding the droit de suite (aka artist's resale right) on the sale of certain paintings by Salvador Dali are a reminder of what is coming our way.  In less than five months the scheme will be extended to the UK, for deceased artists, under EU Directive 2001/84/EC and the Artist's Resale Right (Amendment) Regulations. 
The scheme provides for part of the sale price of works of art, sold on the art market, to be paid to the artist or his or her heirs for 70 years from the artist’s death.  The maximum amount to be paid is €12,500 per item, based on a sliding scale from 4% down to 0.25% of the price.  The UK has dragged its feet for as long as possible, with the right being introduced for living artists in 2006 and it is now to be extended for deceased artists from 1 January 2012, which will quadruple its scope.