Previously the co-head of the legal and compliance department of Christie's, the book is titled Art Law and the Business of Art and draws on Wilson’s 23 years of practical experience working in the auction business.
Published at the end of last year, it covers a broad sweep of legal issues across 18 chapters and aims to outline and explain the relevant laws that apply in the market but also, crucially, how the art business operates in practice.
It is written in a style making it accessible for both lawyers and non-lawyers and includes a useful glossary.
Covering plenty of relevant cases highlighting commercial transactions and disputes relating to auctions, private sales and museums, the wide range of topics covered include ownership and authenticity questions, financial arrangements, artists' rights, the import and export of artworks, taxation, anti-money laundering, bribery, sanctions compliance, restitutions, ancient art and cultural heritage, confidentiality and data protection.
Wilson also covers Alternative Dispute Resolution, an alternative process to litigation which he suggests is not sufficiently widely used in the art market.
Changing legal landscape
“When I started my career the concept of an art lawyer did not exist,” says Wilson. “Over the following two decades, however, all of that has changed.
“This change has been driven by a recognition that the art business is unlike any other. The creation, collection, valuation, authentication, restoration, purchase and sale of art all involve legal, ethical and commercial considerations which often do not arise in any other commercial context.
“I wrote this book because I wanted to share my passion for the world of art and record what I have learned over the years running legal departments. My hope is that it is a useful resource for both lawyers and non-lawyers who seek a practical handbook to help them navigate the legal and ethical issues which affect the art business.”
For more information on the book, including a list of chapters, and to order a copy, visit art-law-book.com. Hardback copies are priced at £115 but paperbacks are also available for £75.