Murray, Woods Article on Art Forgery Published by Private Wealth

“Fighting the Forgers,” an article by litigation partner Eddie Woods and associate Patrick Murray, has been published by Private Wealth.  The article discusses the growing danger from forgeries in the art market as demand—and prices—for fine art increases dramatically.

The authors note that a realistic price and expert certification are not always guarantees of authenticity. However, even under ideal circumstances—“In a perfect world, a buyer would only buy from reputable sellers, get written assurances from the sellers that a work is real and hire a neutral expert qualified to assess it. The savvy buyer would also purchase an insurance policy that covers art forgeries and take steps to document who has had custody of the work.”—it may come to pass that buyers learn they have purchased a fake, sometimes years later.

Woods and Murray note that a buyer’s legal options can be limited by factors such as statutes of limitations and skeptical judges. However, they do note some strategies for dissatisfied buyers:

  • “The buyer could argue, for instance, that the seller continued to represent the work as genuine long after the sale—and the statute of limitations should run from the point of the buyer’s last contact with the seller.”
  • “A buyer in certain circumstances could seek civil damages for a breach of contract, for a breach of an express or implied warranty, for a breach of fiduciary duty or even for fraud.”

They note, however, that for those buyers who want neither the raised profile nor the cost occasioned by litigation, negotiation to a mutually agreeable settlement out of court can be an option.

To read the full article, please click here.