Jessica Franses is a commercial lawyer who spends most of her art law practice advising and assisting on high value sales transactions, involving Fine Art, Contemporary Art and Classic or Historic cars. Jessica in particular, deals with private collections in the UK and internationally.
Jessica advises and assists art galleries, dealers, agents, collectors, art buyers, art sellers, international lawyers, professional advisers, museums, artists, photographers, designers and filmmakers.
Her work involves:
- Contract drafting (from sales contracts, agent agreements, artist–agent agreements to exhibition loan agreements);
- Advising and negotiating transactions;
- Advice on provenance, good title and due diligence; and
- Litigation advice.
Jessica as a sector based lawyer has had wide exposure and experience with the main issues that arise in art sales involving Fine Art: from problems with provenance and due diligence, problems at auction, title issues, cultural heritage issues, restitution issues, national treasure laws, export and import licence issues, negligence, misrepresentation or negligent misstatement by experts, dealers and auctioneers, fraud and fakes, wills, trusts and tax issues.
On the Contemporary Art side, she reviews and drafts artist–agent agreements, artist commission agreements, exhibition loan agreements, assists artists and galleries with IP & copyright issues, Artist Resale Rights, publishing and licensing agreements for artwork prints, reproductions and showcasing art on websites. She also advises on issues concerning the specifications of the artworks, such as longevity and durability of the art and also issues concerning insurance claims for loaned or transported artworks that may be lost or damaged in transit, storage or through display in inappropriate climatic conditions.
She works with a small Specialist Art Law Team and also brings in other relevant experts or professional advisers, such as tax law specialists, accountants, valuers, appraisers, art dealers, art historians, forensic scientists and shippers to ensure her clients receive specialist advice.
- Commercial transactions / sale of goods
- Breaches of contract
- Disputes over ownership or value of artworks
- Museum & gallery loan agreements
- Damage to goods
- Auctioneer’s negligence – negligent misstatement/misrepresentation
- Claims in conversion / liens over property
- Restitution & Cultural heritage issues
- Issues concerning the export or import of goods
- Artist Resale Rights
- Intellectual property, branding and copyright
- Criminal law – theft, damage, fakes & forgeries
- Wills, trusts & probate issues
Appointments & Memberships
- Gray’s Inn
Successfully obtained the restoration of rare ivory antiques to an art dealer, after a two year case against UK Border Agency. Issues concern export licence, CITES, public interest considerations and right to peaceful enjoyment of property.
Non-contentious legal work:
Advisory work for client with international lawyers, on a potential museum acquisition of an important private collection (value over $100 million dollars.
- Advised a client on a potential claim involving breach of contract, misrepresentations, unfair contract terms and consumer law issues, in a case against an auction house in respect of artworks where the issues concern quality of artworks and alleged forgery.
- Advised in respect of a potential alleged negligence claim against a major Auction House regarding the handling of a consignment for sale of high value sculptures by a famous modern artist.
- Successfully settled a potential claim against an Art College for the destruction of artwork.
- Advised an Action Group in their potential judicial review claim against a Council for seeking to sell their ancient treasure in an auction. Case concerned local government policies and museum ethics.
- Advised in a disputed ownership case involving a gift made outside of a will that concerns a painting by an alleged famous English Romantic landscape painter. Issues raised by the claimant are undue influence, conversion and fraud.
Jessica is immersed in the Arts sector. She has over 20 years experience of the Art Market, is from a long family line of art dealers, has worked at gallery exhibitions and art fairs since her youth. She was a CEO for two years at a small arts publishing company called Hali Publications Ltd. Since 2013 she has been running her own arts consultancy business Vitruvian Arts Consultancy Ltd.
Sector Awards and Recommendations
Lawyer Legal Roundup
Art Law: Problems Playing Picasso: The Law Behind Art
Jessica Franses interviewed by the Antiques Trade Gazette
Lawyer Monthly Interview
The rising value of art experts
Jessica Franses writes in acquisition international on the gender pay gap
Art Bahrain 2015
Jessica was invited to speak at Art Bahrain 2015. She presented a paper on buying high value art and provided a buyer's check-list for transactions. (A copy of this paper is available on request.)