August 25, 2016

Venable Launches Art Law Practice

3 min

Practice includes attorneys with backgrounds in the art world; emphasizes acquisitions and sales, artist representation, and business representation

Washington, DC – August 25, 2016 – Venable announced today the launch of a new Art Law Practice Group with an emphasis on artist representation, collector counseling, art licensing, artist and collector estate planning, charitable donations of art, taxes (including sales/use taxes and 1031 free exchange), and business representation of galleries, dealers, appraisers, and agents. The group focuses on contract and auction house negotiations, art book publication, stolen and forged art, artistic infringement, cultural repatriation and war looting, entity formation, and import/export and customs. Partners Joshua J. Kaufman and Michele M. Mulrooney will co-chair the group.

The Art Law Practice brings a skill set developed through decades of counseling clients from all parts of the art world. The group includes attorneys with backgrounds as artists, dealers, and distributors, who have written extensively on their field and taught art law. We count some of the world’s most famous artists among our clients; but we also represent journeymen and up-and-coming artists. We have advised leading art collectors from around the world and new entrants in the field on a wide range of art and financial topics.

"Art is a passion for many Venable clients, regardless of their field of business or where they are located. It's amazing how many of our clients are collectors of or investors in art," said Mr. Kaufman. "With billions of dollars in transactions initiated every year, creating or collecting great art is not enough. For artists, galleries, agents, and/or collectors to succeed, they need a strong team behind them to advance their careers and protect their interests. Art professionals run many risks in the day-to-day operation of their businesses and need solid advice to protect themselves from claims and to assist them as they advise their own clients, which is why Venable takes a holistic approach to representing various parties in the art world. Artists and collectors need a wide range of advice on various art-related topics. Venable is well suited to serve in this capacity, as it has the experience, expertise, and depth to assist not in just one area, but with the wide variety of questions that arise across the board."

The group also recently inaugurated a regular report, Brushstrokes—Reporting on All Facets of the Art World. Included in the report are news and analysis of hot topics, links to relevant articles, and other helpful resources.

Mr. Kaufman, who also heads the firm’s Copyright and Licensing Group, counsels and litigates in the fields of copyright, e-commerce, licensing, art, intellectual property, software, on-line issues, trademarks, entertainment, media (including digital), and literary law. He teaches the Law of Visual Arts at American University’s Washington College of Law. He is the General Counsel of the Art Copyright Coalition, a member of the Smithsonian Institution’s Council for American Art, the founder of the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, DC and The Society to Prevent Trade in Stolen Art, and a regular columnist and speaker on art law topics. Ms. Mulrooney focuses her practice on estate planning for high-net-worth individuals, including actors, directors, writers, producers, and artists.


Venable LLP is an American Lawyer Global 100 law firm headquartered in Washington, DC, with offices in California, Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Virginia. Our lawyers and legislative advisors serve domestic and international clients in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual property, regulatory matters, and government affairs. For more information, visit, and for more information about Venable's Art Law Practice, visit