Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Megan Haslach


The 2007 collapse of Salander O’Reilly Gallery in New York City caught the attention of New York’s state lawmakers after artists and their heirs lost nearly $120 million in gallery owner Lawrence Salander’s schemes. This scandal ultimately led lawmakers to enact major changes in the state’s art consignment statute. The changes bolstered existing protections while adding additional safeguards for artists who choose to consign their works through galleries rather than selling them wholesale. This Article will examine the relationship between consignors and consignees, highlighting major vulnerabilities that current consignment statutes create for artist consignors. In Section I, this Article will examine the benefits of consignment to both artists and dealers. In Section II, this Article will discuss the most common provisions in art consignment statutes that tend to leave artists unprotected in consignment deals. In Section III, this Article will examine New York’s amended consignment statute, which alleviates all major concerns for artists, and will argue that New York has provided a model statute that all states should implement in order to provide a fairer balance in the relationship between artists and art dealers. Finally, Section IV will briefly examine the potential benefits the statute can provide for artists asserting claims to protect their consigned works.

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