Art Law

Art Law in the United States

Research of Art Law

This research section lists selected treatises, databases, and web sites relevant to art law. The initial sections list materials of general relevance. Following sections focus on materials relevant to the subtopics of art theft and fraud; art valuation; cultural property; artists rights (moral rights); and museum policy. Reference librarians are available to help you use these resources and suggest others for your particular art law topic.

Treatises and Overviews

  • Art and Museum Law KF 4288.A7
  • Art, Artifact & Architecture Law KF 4288 and on Westlaw
  • Art Law Handbook KF 4288.A948
  • Art Law in a Nutshell KF 4288.Z9
  • Art Law: the Guide for Collectors, Investors, Dealers, and Artists. 3rd ed. Reference KF 4288.Z9 and on Westlaw
  • The Deskbook of Art Law. 2nd ed. KF 4288.D8
  • Law, Ethics, and the Visual Arts ILS KF 4288.A7

Scholarly Articles–Legal, Art, General

The following sources provide citations to (and sometimes the full text of) articles in academic journals. For art law topics that are very “legal”, the legal periodical literature will be the best place to start. It will also be worthwhile to look for materials in art-focused academic journals. For art law topics that are tangentially legal, very narrow, or that have likely been explored by scholars in the humanities and social sciences, it will be best to also consult general academic articles.

Legal Periodical Articles

  • Journals and Law Reviews on Westlaw: 860 academic law journals and other legal periodicals in full text. Coverage varies, but is generally early 90s to present.
  • U.S. & Canadian Law Reviews Combined on LexisNexis: 660 academic law journals in full text. Coverage varies, but is generally early 90s to present.
  • Hein Online Law Journal Library: 600 titles (but undergoing aggressive growth) in full text, page-image format. Coverage is back to the first issue for most publications. Searching features are somewhat limited. Best access is by title, author, or citation.
  • LegalTrac: Index of about 1000 legal periodicals from 1980 to present. Full text is seldom available. Also available on LexisNexis (Legal Resource Index) and on Westlaw. On Westlaw, links are provided to full text when available.

Art Periodical Articles

Several indices below describe journal content but do not provide the full text of articles. Sometimes there is a button to potentially locate an electronic copy of the article. The button generates a window with direct links to the article if available through a subscription database and/or a catalog record for the journal if owned by the library.

Art Law: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Art Law. This part provides references, in relation to Art Law, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Art Law by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Art Law and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Art Law or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Art Law and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Art Law. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Art Law should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Art Law when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

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