Sunday, August 28, 2016
Artist Mark Rothko wrote a will that firmly documented the desire for his estate to remain out of the vaults of the extremely wealthy. After both he and his wife died, however, large parts of his estate were sold to a gallery for deflated prices. The next year, Rothko’s daughter sued and won the case, but most of the damage had already been done with several of the paintings already sold. With cases like Rothko’s, artists and dealers are beginning to focus on legacy management, securing an artistic afterlife. There have been several instances of trustees fighting with inheritors. Consequently, art galleries are making it a point to talk to artists about proper estate planning.
See Harriet Fitch Little, How an Artist’s Legacy Became Big Business, Financial Times, August 26, 2016.
Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.