The improvement of art authenticators protection through the amendment to New York State Art and Cultural Affairs Law

Artworks authentication continues to be a debated issue even outside the Courts.

Over the years art authenticators, such as artists authentication boards and scholars, have been sued by artists’ heirs or by artworks owners disagreed with the authentication opinions released. For this reason many art authenticators have stopped issuing authentication opinions and this brought to the closure of some of the most important artists authentication boards such as Keith Haring or Andy Warhol ones.

On the last June 15th the New York State Senate approved the Bill S.1229A amending to New York State Art and Cultural Affairs Law in order to protect art authenticators in the visual art community from the increasing risk of civil action lawsuits.b7af9063dc0aadd4e65e20887a687098

Through the introduction of new procedural rules aimed to discourage litigations, the Bill heightened the standards for plaintiffs bringing actions against authenticators.

For example, it provides that plaintiffs shall «specify with particularity in the complaint facts sufficient to support each element of the claim or claims asserted». Moreover, it precludes prevailing plaintiffs from receiving legal costs in suits against authenticators and in the case that the plaintiff claim is rejected Courts could grant legal costs to the prevailing authenticator «upon a written finding of good and just case».

The Bill provides also a definition of “authenticator” which expressly excludes «person or entity that has a financial interest in the work of fine art or visual art multiple for which such opinion is rendered».

The Bill has been supported by several important art institutions also and it will
enter into force on 2016.

Issues related to the release of artworks authentication concern the Italian visual arts community also. Therefore, it should be desirable to put order to the current Italian framework learning from the American experience.

Avv. Lavinia Savini
Dott. Antonio Gallo
Dott.ssa Maria Paola Pinna


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