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The Sale of Misattributed Artworks and Antiques at Auction

Anne Laure Bandle, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
The glamour and mystery of the art auction, gathering interested buyers from across the globe, makes it one of the most fascinating marketplaces in existence. ‘Sleepers’, artworks or antiques that have been undervalued and mislabelled due to an expert’s oversight and consequently undersold, appear regularly. This fascinating new book provides the first extensive study of the phenomenon of sleepers through an in-depth analysis of the contractual relationships, liability and remedies that arise in the context of auction sales.
Extent: 416 pp
Hardback Price: $160.00 Web: $144.00
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78643 100 4
Availability: In Stock
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  • Law - Academic
  • Arbitration and Dispute Resolution
  • Commercial Law
  • Law of Obligations
  • Private International Law
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  • Commercial Law
The glamour and mystery of the art auction, gathering interested buyers from across the globe, makes it one of the most fascinating marketplaces in existence. ‘Sleepers’, artworks or antiques that have been undervalued and mislabelled due to an expert’s oversight and consequently undersold, appear regularly. This fascinating new book provides the first extensive study of the phenomenon of sleepers through an in-depth analysis of the contractual relationships, liability and remedies that arise in the context of auction sales.

The Sale of Misattributed Artworks and Antiques at Auction begins with an examination of the creation of sleepers and the process of attribution of artworks and antiques at auction. This is followed by a comparative analysis of the law governing auctioneer’s liability in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States and a critical assessment of the risks and drawbacks of the current practical and legal regime. The book concludes with an original and pragmatic solution to the challenge of addressing and settling sleeper disputes at auction, including model terms that auction houses can directly adopt in their business terms.

This insightful new book will be of interest to lawyers, auction houses and anyone involved in the authentication or sale of artworks. It will also provide a valuable resource for academics and students in law, anthropology and arts.
‘The Sale of Misattributed Artworks and Antiques at Auction is a groundbreaking work for anyone interested in art law, and the fascinating area of "sleepers" in the glamorous and tricky world of the auction house. This extremely original and well-researched piece of legal scholarship considers the practices of auction houses when a consignment is misattributed by their expert(s). In comparing the legal regimes in the United States, Switzerland, and England, Dr Bandle has produced an analysis of value to students, practitioners, and academics. This book is a future classic in the emerging canon of art law texts.’
– Tatiana Flessas, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

‘Dr. Anne Laure Bandle's book is a compelling comparative analysis on the complex issue of so-called sleepers in the art trade, more specifically at auction. The breadth of her knowledge of both the art market and the law is impressive and makes it a unique contribution to both legal practice and academic research in art and cultural heritage law. It is definitely a milestone in this fascinating new field of law.’
– Marc-André Renold, University of Geneva, Switzerland

‘This is an urgent appeal to all those acting within the complexity of today’s art market and a brilliant vision on how to approach and resolve one of its pre-eminent problems, the issue of authenticity.’
– Friederike Gräfin von Brühl, K&L Gates LLP, Berlin

‘The pointed research and analysis of a worrying part of the trade, bound ?only to grow. Anne Laure Bandle has the breadth of knowledge and experience, investigative inclination and critical approach required to pen a fascinating book. With that, comes a joy at the world of cultural property that make her work an enjoyable read.’
– Bruno Boesch, Froriep LLP, London

‘Artworks of very different kind may be misattributed by auction houses. Fakes by Han van Meegeren may be sold as works by the forged master Jan Vermeer; works of the workshop of Rembrandt may be offered as masterpieces of Rembrandt himself; and Sleepers by an unknown artist of the Renaissance period may be finally attributed as the portrait of Pope Clement VII by Sebastiano del Piombo. In all these cases of misattribution the question has to be answered whether the auction house is responsible for this misattribution and to whom. Anne Laure Bandle diligently treats all these problems in a comparative analysis of Swiss, English and US-American law and makes valuable proposals how auction houses should deal with their responsibility (authenticity guarantee) and which tribunal or mediation centre should decide issues of controversy.’
– Kurt Siehr, Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Germany
Contents Foreword Part I: Creation of Sleepers at Auction 1. Notion of “Sleeper” 2. Process of Attribution of Artworks and Antiques 3. Interim Conclusion Part II: Analysis of the Current Legal Regime in Sleeper Disputes 4. Interests and Expectations in Sleeper Cases 5. Current Regime Governing the Auctioneer’s Liability 6. Interim Conclusion Part III: Comparative and Critical Assessment 6. Comparative Analysis 7. Critical Assessment 8. Interim Conclusion Part IV: Future Perspectives: Market Regulation – New Trading Practices 9. Authenticity Guarantee to Consignors 10. Alternative Means of Dispute Resolution Index