Art Law Background:
I am a practicing barrister of 13 years practical experience. I am a business lawyer, with specialist knowledge in employment, commercial and art law. I have been building a specialist practice in this area since 2010. I receive instructions from solicitors and from clients directly.
My first art law case was in 2010 when I was engaged in advisory work over a six month period, assisting New York art dealers and their agent in the sale of a newly discovered Renaissance masterpiece by possibly the world’s most famous Renaissance artist; that led to attending meetings with potential clients and the top Renaissance curators in the leading museums of Europe. My role required reviewing all contracts; drafting confidentiality agreements; reviewing all sales documentation; expert reports, provenance and due diligence checks and preparing an art sales film.
(See the services pages to see the cases I have been involved in and the type of work I undertake.)
I got the bug after that and haven’t looked back.
Most of my art law work is public access gained through my art business connections. I represent galleries, dealers, art agents, collectors, museums, artists, architects, photographers, designers, interior designers, filmmakers and graphic designers. I am a transactional lawyer, who spends most of my art law practice advising and assisting art dealers, agents and buyers on sales transactions.
I draft a wide range of art contracts from sales agreements to agent agreements, to artist-agent agreements, to exhibition loan agreements.
I advise galleries and artists who are setting up their business, as well as helping more established dealers with the more complex problems that face the trade; buyers with contractual and consumer issues and artists and creatives with their contracts and copyright issues.
As a sector based lawyer I have had wide exposure and experience with the main issues that arise in art sales: 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.
I work with an Art Team within Chambers and with specialist solicitors to ensure my clients receive specialist advice. For recent examples of my art law cases
I am the CEO of a small arts publishing company called Hali Publications Ltd. (HPL).
HPL publishes two specialist art magazines – Hali Magazine & Cover (modern carpets and textiles for interiors) Magazine.
HPL also publishes a wide range of art books, coordinates and curates art fairs and exhibitions and events and conducts art tours.
We recently had stands at Clerkenwell design week, Milan Design week and London Design Week.
I am the owner of a creative company called Vitruvian Arts Consultancy Ltd. VAC is a strategic branding and business consultancy for the arts sector.
We recently presented a photographic exhibition in Gallery@LR in the iconic Richard Rogers building at Lloyd’s Register of Munich based photographer Chris Hauser’s stunning SkyLines Exhibition.
We offer a concierge service of technical creatives and business consultants to build and modernize art businesses. From websites, curated online art brochures, to branding, public awareness campaigns, PR and event planning, gallery and stand design, all promotional materials and logo design. We offer: E-galleries, E-fairs, Branding, Exhibition design and events and Professional services.
Follow us at @vitruvianart or on Facebook.
I have chosen art law as a specialism because art is my passion. I understand very well the problems that face the art market; having grown up in this world.
I come from a long family line of art dealers, my father was an extremely successful art dealer and I have worked at gallery exhibitions and major Art fairs since my teenage years.
My father is Michael Franses, former owner of the Textile Gallery London and former Hali and Cover Magazine owner. My grandfather Robert Franses was a dealer in Carpets and textiles. My great uncle David Franses and his son Simon Franses are renowned experts on Carpets, Textiles and Tapestries. My late great uncle Jack was a former head of the Carpet and Islamic Art department at Sotheby’s. My late great uncle Victor and his son Graham Franses sold 19th Century animalier bronze sculptures, paintings, drawings and watercolours.
I was very lucky to have grown up in a world always full of art and my father would take me with him from a young age all around the world visiting art galleries, museums, art collectors and auction houses watching him at work.
Even after I had gone to University and qualified and started practising at the bar, I continued to work for my family. I would leave West London Magistrates Court having represented a youth in a criminal trial and head over to Kensington Olympia art fair to help out at the Fair and got to see how the art market evolved in the modern age of the internet and modern telecommunications.
Exhibition and Fair Experience
I have throughout assisted my family at exhibitions, on their exhibition stands. The Textile Gallery London having exhibited at Grosvenor House and The European Fine Art Fair at Maastricht (TEFAF) for decades. My father was a founding father of TEFAF. We also exhibited for several years at Kensington Olympia Art and Antiques fair. I have assisted at family gallery openings and exhibitions at other galleries, such as Colnaghi gallery London and the Flacks gallery in New York and regularly attended Asia art week viewing other galleries’ openings.
One of my first jobs when I left school was to work for Hali Publications Ltd. (HPL) at the Olympia art fair working for their vetting committee and feel I have come full circle; I am extremely honoured to have been trusted to take up the reigns of this company having been made a director in 2012 and became CEO of HPL in 2014.
Interaction with The Art Sector
I have been extremely fortunate to meet dealers, collectors, gallery owners, art experts and curators and Directors of museums all over the world all of my life.
I have gone to numerous auctions and different galleries and museums to see and discuss specific art objects, observing curators and Directors of major museums, such as the Met museum New York.
I have had the great privilege of seeing museum private collections (such as the gold collection in the Hermitage) and major collector’s private collections and have observed my father and his team’s work on various conservation of art objects but in particular the continued work on the pazyryk carpet in the Hermitage in St Petersburg.
I have met scholars and academics in a range of fields.
I currently liaise with experts on behalf of art law clients in the undertaking of provenance and due diligence checks.
In my role at HPL we commission art experts to write our articles in Hali and also publish books written by curators of major museums. We have a number of exciting book projects with major art museums.
Most recently I met Islamic art experts in Doha at the opening of the Chess exhibition in March 2014.
At HPL we work closely with art dealers and leading modern carpet manufacturers and designers and curate art fairs; most recently we curated a fair at Milan Design week in conjunction with Design Junction.
We have recently had stands at Kensington Olympia Art Fair, London Design Week, Milan Design Week, Domotex and Decorex and have been present at and supported the design graduate exhibition New Designers at Islington’s Business Centre that runs from 25th June until 5th July. Please see here,
At HPL we also host the annual award ceremony for the best designers in modern carpet design, including the selection of best young designer and student designer at the leading fair in carpet manufacturing; Domotex in Hannover Germany.
Lectures and Seminars
In my spare time, I attend art lectures and seminars in a range of art forums including embassies such as that hosted by Iran Heritage Foundation at the Hermitage in St Petersburg and the Uzbekistan embassy London.
Most recently I went to the TEFAF talk hosted by Apollo at the Royal Academy on the role of collectors and to a talk on the Italian collector Bardini at the Wallace collection.
I am a member of most of London’s museums.
I collect art and have a passion for tribal art, contemporary ceramics and modern textiles. I continue to travel extensively and attend exhibitions, fairs, private museums and galleries world-wide. Most recently I have been on art trips to Brussels, Maastricht – TEFAF, Doha, Art Dubai and Florence.