Thaddeus Stauber advises the world’s leading cultural institutions, foreign sovereigns, international art collectors, dealers, artists, universities, foundations, estates and individuals. With a deep passion and appreciation for the arts and practice of law, Thaddeus has earned a reputation as a trusted advisor and skilled negotiator for the art world’s leading players.
From representing the estates and families of legendary artists such as Pablo Picasso, to leading high-profile courtroom wins and groundbreaking crossover deals, to advising next generation artists like Sterling Ruby and international contemporary art galleries, Thaddeus understands the art industry and international marketplace. His ability to identify and bring in the right experts across the globe and team with a client’s existing counsel and advisors is invaluable to our clients.
Thanks to our courtroom skills, judgment and international experience, my team and I have secured precedent setting wins for our clients. We have an unmatched proven track record of prevailing in high-stakes matters involving priceless artwork, cultural property and contractual and intellectual rights while vigorously defending our clients’ personal and professional reputations.
My team and I have successfully represented our clients’ interests in courtroom trials and proceedings throughout the U.S. and in arbitral bodies worldwide, including controversies spanning Europe, Asia and Latin America. I have now personally argued cases in six different federal circuits (D.C., 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th), along with numerous state courts.
Notable cases include representing Hungary in an international action challenging the country’s historical ownership of more than 40 artworks and defending a challenge to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation’s ownership of important artwork by Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro in federal court. Most recently, my team and I led the courtroom defense and negotiations to resolve competing claims in European and U.S. courts for Pablo Picasso’s daughter in an international dispute over a $115 million sculpture. We also led the defense and negotiations in a highly publicized adverse ownership claim against the University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art that resulted in a first-of-its-kind U.S.-French international art sharing agreement.
I also work with galleries, museums, artists, major collectors and dealers in significant art and cultural property transactions, consignments and commissions. We work on the forefront of the global explosion of contemporary art and the merging of art, fashion, media and finance, including our groundbreaking negotiation and deal structuring for Sterling Ruby and Raf Simons/Calvin Klein along with helping our artist and gallery clients as they expand and enter global markets with cross-border transactions.
Under my direction, my team served as deal counsel on the unprecedented San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Fisher Family agreement. The agreement brought the world-renowned Fisher Collection, an 1,100-piece private collection of modern and contemporary artwork, to SFMOMA, and included a complex development agreement as the roadmap for the recently completed SFMOMA’s museum expansion. I’m particularly proud of The Art Institute of Chicago’s acquisition of Edvard Munch’s Girl Looking out the Window (1893) and the important European sculpture Sampson with Lion, and had the privilege of putting together agreements for the Venice Biennale, Lucian Freud’s first U.S. museum commission, and numerous contemporary art commissions along with site-specific installation and international exhibition agreements.
Print, broadcast and social media add a layer of complexity to an already tenuous situation when you are facing litigation. Intervening quickly, and with the right message, can make a positive difference when it comes to protecting your reputation. I have considerable experience guiding institutions and public figures through these emergent situations to restore not only public trust, but the confidence of board leadership, donors and the marketplace as well.
Strategic advisor and lead negotiator to foreign sovereigns, universities and art owners in governmental affairs, investigations and law enforcement actions involving U.S. Department of State, U.S. Solicitor General’s Office, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and New York District Attorney’s Office
Houston Public Media | May 31, 2022
Los Angeles Privacy & Technology partner Thaddeus Stauber, Arts & Cultural Institutions team leader, discussed the recent successful dismissal of a case challenging the ownership of a painting by Bernardo Bellotto, “The Marketplace at Pirna,” which has been part of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s collection since 1961.
Los Angeles Business Journal | July 12, 2021
Los Angeles Complex Commercial Disputes partner and Arts and Cultural Institutions team leader Thad Stauber is featured in this article for being selected as one of the publication’s “Leaders of Influence: Litigators & Trial Attorneys,” recognizing the most influential litigation leaders in the greater Los Angeles area.
OU Daily | April 19, 2021
Arts and Cultural Institutions practice leader and Los Angeles Complex Commercial Disputes partner Thaddeus Stauber is quoted extensively in this article on an internationally lauded settlement, reached between The University of Oklahoma and the OU Foundation and Ms. Léone Meyer, that established an art-sharing agreement in 2016 for the Camille Pissarro painting, Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep (1866).
The New York Times | October 16, 2020
This article, examining the latest developments in a lawsuit involving valuable artworks owned by Hungary and displayed at three museums and a university in Budapest, quotes Arts & Cultural Institutions team leader and Los Angeles Complex Commercial Disputes partner Thaddeus Stauber on the Hungarian government’s ownership of the artworks.
ARTnews | August 19, 2020
This article discusses a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that unanimously affirms that NP’s Spanish client, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, is the rightful owner of a prominent artwork by Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro. The article quotes Los Angeles Complex Commercial Disputes partner and Arts & Cultural Institutions team leader Thaddeus Stauber on the decision. The NP team also includes Complex Commercial Disputes partner Sarah Andre, Intellectual Property counsel Aaron Brian, and Labor & Employment associate Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan, all of Los Angeles.
Artnet News | August 18, 2020
This article discusses a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that unanimously affirms that NP’s Spanish client, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, is the rightful owner of a prominent artwork by Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro. The article quotes Los Angeles Complex Commercial Disputes partner and Arts & Cultural Institutions team leader Thaddeus Stauber on the decision. The NP team also includes Complex Commercial Disputes partner Sarah Andre, Intellectual Property counsel Aaron Brian, and Labor & Employment associate Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan, all of Los Angeles. Click here to read the article.
The Art Newspaper | September 23, 2019
Los Angeles Complex Commercial Disputes partner Thad Stauber, head of Nixon Peabody’s arts and cultural institutions team, analyzes how the art world could be affected by California legislation restricting employers’ ability to classify employees as independent contractors.
Democrat & Chronicle | September 20, 2019
Los Angeles Complex Commercial Disputes partner Thad Stauber discusses his representation of a Pittsford, NY, art collector whose valuable Egon Schiele drawing is the subject of an ownership dispute. Two heirs of art collectors say the drawing was stolen from their families several decades ago.
Podcast | 08.30.21
Trending | 09.21.20
Arts & Cultural Institutions Alert | 04.13.20
University of Wisconsin Law School, J.D., cum laude
University of Dayton, B.S., Finance, with honors
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
Thaddeus was selected, through a peer-review survey, for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022 in the field of Art Law. Thaddeus has been listed in Best Lawyers since 2016, and was the 2018 Art Law “Lawyer of the Year” for Los Angeles. He was also recommended by the Legal 500 2013, 2014 and 2015 for litigation in the areas of Supreme Court and appellate work.
Thaddeus Stauber is a member of Collections, an elite forum of independent senior lawyers to collectors, institutions, the trade, and to artists and their estate.
Defense trial counsel on cases ranging from attempted murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking, sexual assault, defamation, 1st Amendment, and death penalty post-trial conviction appeal. Obtained numerous jury trial acquittals.