Re-launch and Expansion of IFAR's Art Law & Cultural Property Database

July 2013

New York, NY: For years, the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) has been building one of the world’s most comprehensive databases on legislation and case law concerning the acquisition, authenticity, export, and ownership of art and other cultural objects.  IFAR is pleased to announce an expansion of its Art Law & Cultural Property Database and its re-launch online with new features and a new pricing structure.

Comprising U.S. case law as well as international and domestic legislation and statutes representing more than 100 countries – and continually growing, the IFAR Art Law & Cultural Property Database is widely used by academics, students, lawyers, law enforcement officials, museum curators and administrators, gallery owners, journalists, and others involved in the collecting, sale, exhibiting, insuring, and authentication of art and cultural objects. Drawing on material amassed by IFAR over a 40-year-period as well as extensive additional and on-going research, the Database was initially launched online in 2008 with seed money provided by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency, and several prestigious foundations. It was expanded, updated, and maintained as a free public service for more than four years by a team of attorneys, legal advisors, IFAR staff, consultants, and law students, with the financial support of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation and many other foundations, as well as IFAR itself. (IFAR has no endowment and relies on grants, membership support, and fees from its publications and art research services.)

This spring, in order to continue to expand and enhance the Database and ensure that it remains a sustainable and vital research tool, IFAR moved to an annual subscription model, with modest institutional and individual rates, as well as time-based access options.


The IFAR Art Law & Cultural Property Database, which is continually updated and expanded, gathers in one place:

* International cultural property legislation from more than 100 countries, including English translations and original texts and current as well as historical legislation, linked to summaries of each country’s legislation presented in a “snapshot” view.

* Summaries of U.S. case law in the following IFAR fields of interest (including out-of-court settlements as well as litigated decisions):

  • World War II/Holocaust-era Related Art Loss;
  • Cultural Property (Antiquities) Disputes over Non-United States Property;
  • United States Cultural Property;
  • Art Theft;
  • Ownership, Title Disputes/Claims (including breach of contract);
  • Art Fraud, Attribution, Authenticity, Forgery, Libel, and Defamatory Statements;
  • Valuation/ Appraisal;
  • Copyright, Moral Rights and Other Issues

* International conventions and bilateral agreements

* Cultural property contact information for government officials worldwide (to verify the legality of acquisitions)

* A glossary of relevant legal terms; a section on U.S. statutes; images of artworks cited in the legal cases; and useful links to other resources

* Current standards and guidelines for museums, dealers, archaeologists, and other arts professionals and organizations

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New Features: For the re-launch, new case studies and country summaries were added to the Database and functionality was enhanced. The Database was retrofitted to permit users to read the full texts of the legal decisions associated with a case summary, and the texts of several hundred legal decisions have since been attached to the case summaries. University subscribers also have new online tools to help them track usage and manage their subscriptions.

Many universities have now subscribed to the Database, including: Columbia, Princeton, Rutgers, University of Miami, University of Southern California, and Case Western. Law School subscribers include: New York University, University of Pennsylvania, Cardozo, and Willamette. Many museums, too, have seen the value of this resource, several of which, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum, and the Getty, have signed on as “Lead Museums.” Individuals, too, and law firms, have subscribed. For those individuals not wishing to commit to an annual subscription, 2-hour and 4-hour access is also available.

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Sharon Cott, general counsel of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has called the IFAR Database “invaluable a major contribution to the research tools in this field.” John H. Merryman, Sweitzer Professor of Law and Affiliated Professor of Art Emeritus at Stanford University, described the Database as an “unmatched digital resource for students, attorneys, art professionals, and others interested in American and international art and cultural property law.”

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IFAR trusts that the many loyal users of the Database understand its need to change to a subscription model in order to ensure that this important educational resource remains financially sustainable for years to come.

For pricing options and other information, click the “Art Law & Cultural Property” link on the left menu bar of the Home Page of our Website, or contact:

For more general information about the Database, contact: Dr. Sharon Flescher, Executive Director, IFAR, at 212-391-6234.