Works of Art

Our Law Office is one of the few in Spain devoted to Cultural Goods.

The intervention in the complex world of Works of Art and Cultural Goods necessarily requires expert advice. In this field of expertise, several areas of practice are involved: Criminal Law (smuggling, crimes against Historical Heritage and crimes against Intellectual Property); Private Law (cultural goods conveyancing and use and enjoyment of cultural goods); International Private Law (international conveyancing of cultural goods, export and import of cultural goods); Administrative Law (procedure of sanctioning dockets, administrative authorizations) and Intellectual Property Law (especially with regards to the works of living authors).

It is our experience that many clients that arrive at our office are unaware of the existence of such strict rules governing Cultural Goods. In fact, it is unfortunate that many only became aware of these rules once they were already iinvolved in contraband crimes or in expropriations proceedings.

The Market of Works of Art and Cultural Goods (movable or unmovable ones) is a market with an important volume of business. Cultural Goods reach astronomical prices in auctions or in merchant conveyancings. The possession, moving, conservation and conveyancing of these kinds of goods must be accompanied by intelligent decisions. This is why the intervention of a lawyer should be mainly preventive.

We work together with real estate appraisers, art appraisers, economists and, of course, other legal experts, both Spanish and from other nationalities. Our field of work is the whole of Spain, although frequently we make business visits to other countries, especiallywithin the European Union or Switzerland.

Our professional intervention is designed to include integral legal advice, both to institutions (museums, foundations, corporations, etc.) and to private individuals, in those matters in which cultural goods (and works of art) are involved. We act in all jurisdictions in Spain.

As a legal specialist in the Art Market, Antonio Pedro Rodriguez Bernal has taken part in many international transactions on behalf either of the parties or the art dealers, contributing to their successful completion with regular advice, negotiation, document and contract-drafting, and revision.

He is frequently invited to radio programmes or interviewed in newspapers to discuss current issues related to the Art Law, Heritage and Antiquities and has solid knowledge not only of Spanish Law but also of those legal systems often applied to art transactions, such as English and Swiss Law.

We offer the services of escrow agents for those cases in which the work is and could be inspected in Spain or, exceptionally, in London.

Learn more about our services

Administrative Interventions

  • Export and Import of cultural goods.
  • Administrative proceedings relating to cultural goods (inclusion in official catalogues and registries).
  • Subsidies, tax subsidies, economic aid for restoration and maintenance.
  • Administrative authorizations: restorations, maintenance and change of use.

Conveyancing

  • Title checking.
  • First steps of Conveyancing (rights of preemption and buyout).
  • Auctions.
  • Hidden defects liability.
  • Escrow agent.

Judicial Interventions

  • Expropriation.
  • Plundering. Confiscation.
  • Administrative sanctioning proceedings.
  • Assistance in criminal proceedings.
  • Smuggling.

Legal Advice in Cultural and Art Law

Intellectual Property