Moloney & Associates Solicitors Limerick

Artists and the law. Contract law for artists. Contracts to exhibit art. Contracts to commission art. Contracts to licence art.

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Artists, Contracts and the Law

Artists should be aware of the fundamentals of contract law as they will regularly be commissioned to do work for galleries and for companies. They might also be asked to produce art work for a website or they will engage a gallery or agent to sell their works from time to time and/or be requested by a gallery to exhibit work.

The fundamentals elements of a contract are;




Intention to create legal relations

Capacity to contract, and

Terms that are legal and capable of performance

Should you wish to engage us we can advise on;

Contracts for the Sale of an Artwork. We can advise the artist on the benefits of using writing contracts versus relying on an oral contract. Relevant clauses will include price, method of payment, date of payment, does copyright vest, can the purchaser reproduce the work, can the artist borrow the work for loan to a gallery etc.

Contracts to Commission a Work
Artworks are frequently commissioned by private individuals, companies, banks or public bodies to produce artwork for public display.  It is advisable for both parties to understand the legal position as to payment, display rights, reproduction rights and whether or not it is intended that the entity or person that commissions the works will obtain the copyright to the work or merely a licence over the copyright.

Exhibition Contracts – from the artists point of view it is extremely important that they have a contract in place with the gallery that they have read and understood and have had legal advice on before entering.

Some of the keys clauses that need to be included are;

Confirmation that the Gallery will exhibit the agreed pieces of art – these should be itemised and scheduled.

The date for delivery of the works to the exhibition venue.

Who is responsible for transit and related insurance costs?

Agreement on when the artists can attend the exhibition and on what terms.

The terms of sale of the works, or other remuneration for the artist, with date of payment by the gallery.

The commission fees being charged by the Gallery on the sale of art works.

Procedure in case of damage to the artists’ works.

A clause that sets out whose responsibility it is to deliver art works that are sold to purchasers and the terms attaching to the delivery of these works.

A mediation/arbitration clause to handle disputes.

Like all contracts there needs to be clarity on costs related to insurance, framing; transportation of art works; marketing etc.


If you are an Artist and you need advice on contracts you can contact us by email or telephone. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 061 316758