Sullivan's Art & Museum Law Group assembles lawyers with a broad array of experience with issues affecting museums, artists, and other institutions devoted to the arts. Our team combines skill and experience in these areas generally, with background concerning museums specifically, which together position us to understand the challenges and opportunities faced by museums, artists and collectors. Our professionals include a Best Lawyers’ Boston Non-Profit/Charities Lawyer of the Year; a former curatorial professional responsible for exhibition work and compliance with Association of Art Museum Directors provenance directives; and seasoned intellectual property litigators, among others. 

Representative Client Work

  • Argued in the Supreme Court of the United States as lead counsel to plaintiffs seeking restitution of the Guelph Treasure, sold under duress by Jewish art dealers in 1935 to the Prussian government. F.R.G. v. Philipp, 141 S. Ct. 703 (2021). The case concerns the first case in which a U.S. court has found jurisdiction over a German state museum for claims to allegedly Nazi-looted art, Philipp v. F.R.G., 894 F.3d 406 (D.C. Cir. 2018).
  • Counsel of record for Mark Feldman, former U.S. Department of State Acting Legal Adviser in case concerning Nazi-forced sale of a painting by Camille Pissarro. Argued for the reversal of the ruling of the Ninth Circuit that federal common law supplied the choice of law rule in a case brought under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(3). The Supreme Court ruled for the petitioners consistent with the brief’s argument that 28 U.S.C. § 1606 compels that subsequent to finding jurisdiction, foreign sovereign defendants must stand in the same footing as any private litigant, including the choice of law. See Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, No. 20-1566, 2022 U.S. LEXIS 2097, __ S.Ct. _ (Apr. 21, 2022).
  • Represent art dealer in civil action against Poland concerning extradition attempts brought in retaliation for client's claims to recover property lost during the Holocaust. Khochinsky v. Republic of Poland, 1 F.4th 1 (D.C. Cir. 2021).
  • Counsel for heirs of renowned Berlin art dealer Alfred Flechtheim in investigation and recovery of art looted by the Nazis from the Galerie Flechtheim
  • Represent members of the Berkshire Museum in litigation concerning proposed sale of 40 works of art to fund museum operations
  • Served as lead counsel to Artmentum GmbH in widely publicized $204 million lawsuit over sale of a fine art collection, won motion to dismiss all claims in Art Assure Ltd., LLC v. Artmentum GmbH et al., Case No. 1:14-cv-03757 (LGS) (S.D.N.Y.)
  • Represented a New York art dealer in litigation involving claims for restitution of artworks alleged to have been stolen during the Nazi occupation of France. Obtained complete dismissal of all claims against client. Meyer v. University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, et al., Case No. 1:13-cv-3128 (CM)
  • Obtaining First Amendment related dismissals for speech and governance related cases
  • Advising museums and collectors concerning de-accessioning
  • Representing individuals in connection with the protection of their intellectual property rights and in negotiations with corporate sellers of their product
  • Assisting a tax-exempt organization in developing a licensing program and protecting related trademarks
  • Representing artists, authors, musicians and music producers in the negotiation of consignment, sales, and publishing contracts
  • Advising start-up companies with respect to rights clearance issues with website content and use of third-party content on the website
  • Advising clients with respect to domain name registrations, resolving domain name ownership disputes, and challenging domain name registrations that infringe client trademarks
  • Conducting nationwide intellectual property protection and enforcement programs, and handling related litigation, on behalf of, among others, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and their licensing entities, as well as Comedy Partners (South Park), and NCP Marketing Group, Inc. (Tae Bo)
  • Defending an apparel distributor and various national and regional department store chains in connection with trademark and copyright infringement suit brought by a belt designer
  • Serving as outside general counsel to direct marketing companies, with responsibilities including day-to-day handling of all licensing, distribution and telemarketing-related agreements and principal responsibility for handling all litigation and arbitrations, including defense of class action lawsuit
  • Advising on avoiding unrelated business taxable income, including regarding gift shops, museum restaurants, corporate sponsorships, affinity credit cards and mailing lists
  • Advising on the application of sales/use tax to art work loaned to a museum
  • Negotiating settlement of use tax due on art work purchased out-of-state
  • Representing a charitable trust before highest state court and in negotiations with state Attorney General for termination of charitable trust and distribution of assets to charitable organization
  • Structuring charitable foundations and trusts for maximum tax advantage

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