Providing Innovative Solutions To
Creative Clients For Decades Worldwide
Barbara T. Hoffman

Barbara T. Hoffman

  • Principal

Practice Areas:

  • Art Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Intellectual Property Litigation and Related Areas


Barbara T. Hoffman, principal, is a pre-eminent arts, cultural heritage and cultural institution lawyer in New York City providing transactional advice and litigation services to the domestic and international arts and cultural community. Her more than thirty-five years in the field of art law, representing artists, museums, collectors, artist and other charitable foundations, galleries and foreign governments has given her wide expertise on matters involving art, antiques and cultural property transactions, including art gallery and auction house consignments, gifts of art, copyright and artist's rights, and non-profit issues of governance and conflict of interest. She is a pioneer in the field of public art and developed, for the New York City Bar Association, the model contract for the field. She has represented a majority of renowned artists working in the public realm with projects worldwide involving large scale private and public scales from memorials to AIA award-winning artist-architect collaborations from Battery Park to Shanghai and points in between. She is included in New York Magazine's Best Lawyers for 2010 - 2011, 2012, Marquis Who's Who and Super Lawyers (2010-2016), and the Wall Street Journal Best Women Lawyers in New York (2016). She is a Fellow of the American Bar Association.

Ms. Hoffman litigates and counsels in the intellectual property and related areas such as author's rights, publishing, film, TV and entertainment, internet and new media. Ms. Hoffman has successfully resolved numerous copyright claims, as well as right of publicity and privacy claims pre-summary judgment on behalf of artists, photographers and photographer's estates. In addition to litigation, Ms. Hoffman understands the importance of maximizing intellectual property assets to protect the intellectual property of her clients. She counsels on a wide variety of complex copyright and licensing issues in the traditional as well as new media. Representative matters include licensing of characters, theatrical performances, images and literary works and advising on all legal matters related to the production and distribution of film and TV product. She is the editor of the Exploiting Image Archives in New Media (Kluwer Law 1996).

Not surprisingly as an art lawyer, Ms. Hoffman is passionate in her representation of visual artists and entrepreneurs. Ms. Hoffman's innovative and creative approach to lawyering has resulted in precedent-setting legal decisions on behalf of artists in copyright, fair-use and moral rights, art litigations having represented successfully the plaintiff in Ringgold v. Black Entertainment Television, Inc., 126 F.3d 70 (2d Cir. 1997), establishing copyright protection for visual images on parity with that of music in film and television, the defendant in Barris v. Hamilton et al., No. 96 Civ. 9541, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7225 (S.D.N.Y. May 17, 1999), Flack v. Friends of Queen Catherine, Inc. et al., 139 F. Supp. 2d 526 (S.D.N.Y. 2001), establishing the artist's droit moral (right of integrity) in a public sculpture commission, and Daniel Morel in Agence France Presse v. Morel, No. 10 Civ. 2730 (WHP), 2011 WL 147718 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 14, 2011) involving the theft of a photojournalist's images from the internet by AFP, Getty Images, CNN, ABC and CBS.

Ms. Hoffman represents a wide range of corporate, institutional, and individual clients including prominent visual artists and their estates, museums, galleries, architects, photographers and leading photo agencies, advertising agencies, authors, publishers, entrepreneurs, Internet providers, and content distribution companies. She has been counsel to award winning film and TV productions and documentary producers including numerous international co-productions.

Because of her widely recognized expertise, she has been a frequent invited speaker at conferences and CLE programs. Recent speaking engagements have been at the Lalit Kala, New Delhi, India, MAXXI, Rome, the De Young Museum, San Francisco, California and the United States Chamber of Commerce, Shanghai, China, and the Foreign Ministry, Asunción, Paraguay.

As an active participant in the sectors she serves, Hoffman through various leadership positions has influenced an understanding of the law as it affects her various constituencies and is often at the forefront of new developments and future trends. For example, Hoffman participated as a representative of the College Art Association at the USPTO Conference on Fair Use ("CONFU") where she initiated the image-based task force.
She is a former Chair of the International Bar Association Committee on Art, Cultural Institutions and Heritage Law and the Chair of the New York City Bar Association Committee on Art Law. She was also the first woman associate professor of law at Seattle University School of Law (formerly UPS) where she taught for ten years before returning to full time legal practice in New York.

Ms. Hoffman served for ten years as outside counsel to the College Art Association, is a former board member of Art Table, New York Women in Film and Television, the Williams Art Conservation Institute, the Explorers Club where she was also chair of the legal committee and AICA, the International Association of Art Critics. She currently serves inter alia on the Boards of Performa, the Any One Can Fly Foundation, Currents - Art and Music, and the Salvador Dali Foundation.

She has continued through her writing, advocacy and client representation to define the law as it applies to new information technologies and the image and art world. See Kluwer: Hoffman ed., "Exploiting Images and Image Collections in the New Media: Gold Mine or Legal Minefield?" She has also attended regularly as an invited guest major biennales, Documenta, Münster, and art fairs since the 1980's.
She is fluent in French, Spanish and Italian.

Ms. Hoffman began her law career as an assistant corporation counsel for the City of New York. She then was a full time associate professor of law from 1975-1985 teaching constitutional law, land use and property, art law, and intellectual property. In 1985, she returned to full time legal practice in New York City. She also taught Art and the Law at the School of Visual Arts, Fashion Institute of Technology, and courses in U.S. Copyright Law in the Master of Law Program at the Université of Lyon, Lyon France. In June of 2007, she developed an international art law course for St. Johns University School of Law in Rome.


  • Columbia Law School, New York, New York
    • J.D.
    • Honors: Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
  • Brown University
    • B.A.
    • Honors: cum laude
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, with Honors
    • M.A.
  • London School of Economics, with Honors
    • M.A.
    • Honors: With Honors
  • Science Po 3 Ieme Cycle, Paris; Ecole de Louvre; Centre du Recheiche d'Ubanisme

Bar Admission

  • New York, 1972
  • District of Columbia, 1979
  • Washington, 1982
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Washington
  • Supreme Court of the United States of America
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of New York

Representative Cases

  • Ringgold v Black Entertainment Television, Inc., 126 F. 3d 70 (2d Cir 1997)
  • Flack v Friends of Queen Catherine, 139 F. Supp. 2d 526; 2001 (April 18, 2001)
  • Agence France Presse v. Morel, No. 10 Civ. 2730 (WHP), 2011 WL 147718 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 14, 2013)
  • George Barris v Richard Hamilton, Tate Gallery and D'Offay Gallery, 1999, U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7225 (S.D.N.Y. May 17, 1999)
  • Columbus America Discovery Group v Atlantic Mutual Insurance (4th Cir June 14, 1995)
  • Finley v NEA, 795 F. Supp. 1457 (C.D. Calif. 1992)
  • United States v The Painting Known as Le Marché, 648 F. 3d 84 (2d Cir 2011)


  • New York Best Lawyers 2010-2016
  • Super Lawyers, 2010-2016
  • Marquis Best Lawyers, America
  • Marquis Who's Who
  • New York Times Top Women Attorneys in Metro New York, 2014-2016
  • Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Award for Contributions Made to American Visual Artists, 2009

Classes & Seminars

  • Art and Law, School of Visual Arts
  • Art and Law, Fashion Institute of Technology
  • U.S. Copyright Law, University of Lyon, Lyon France
  • Professor, Seattle University School of Law, 1975 to 1985
  • ALI-ABA Legal Issues in Museum Administration
  • Underwater Cultural Heritage, Siracusa, Italy, 2005 - Present
  • CLE International: Visual Arts and the Law
  • Law Faculty, Jean Moulin 3, Lyon, France
  • Columbia University, School of Architecture and Planning, Invited Lecturer
  • United Nations, NGO Observer, 1985 to 2000
  • Seattle University School of Law (Formerly UPS), Associate Professor of Law
  • Representative, College Art Association at the USPTO Conference on Fair Use ("CONFU")
  • WIPO: Arbitration of Intellectual Property Disputes
  • WIPO: Mediation of Intellectual Property Disputes
  • Harvard: Advanced Mediation Seminar
  • Developed and Taught International Art Law Course, St. Johns University School of Law in Rome, 2007

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Founder and President of the Washington Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, 1976-1983
  • College Art Association, Executive Committee, Counsel, 1986-1996
  • Museum Attorneys Group since 2000
  • ARPAI, Association for the Restoration of Italian Cultural Heritage
  • Assistant corporation counsel, City of New York
  • Founder and President of the Washington Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, 1976 to 1983
  • UN Delegate and Representative to Nairobi Women's Conference
  • UN Representative of the International Federation of Women in Legal Careers UN Advisor for the Sierra Club


  • American Association of Museums
  • Art Dealers Association of America
  • The Explorers Club
  • IBA Committee on Art, Cultural Institutions & Heritage Law
  • International Council on Monuments and Sites
  • International Council of Museums
  • UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit
  • Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property
  • UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural
  • Heritage
  • UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects
  • World Bank
  • World Heritage Fund
  • World Monument Fund
  • World Intellectual Property Organization


  • French
  • Spanish
  • Italian

Professional Associations

  • International Bar Association, Committee on Art, Cultural Institutions and Heritage Law from 1990, Former Chair
  • New York City Bar Association, Chair, Committee on Art Law
  • The Cultural Property Round Table, New York City Bar Association, Chair and Producer
  • WIPO-ICOM Museum Mediation Panel
  • Panel Expert, Member, International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Committee on Legal, Administrative and Financial Issues
  • American Film Market (Independent Film and Television Alliance) , Arbitrator's Panel, Board Member, 1985 - Present
  • Council on International Affairs (New York City Bar Association)
  • Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Award for Contributions to American Visual Artists
  • Art Table, Board of Directors
  • New York Women in Film and Television, Former Board Member
  • Explorers Club, Secretary and Chair Legal Committee
  • Performa, Board and Secretary, 2005 to Present
  • Anyone Can Fly Foundation, Board of Directors, Present
  • Currents Art and Music, Board of Directors
  • Contemporary Arts Council, MoMA
  • International Association of Art Critics, AICA, Counsel
  • Salvador Dali Foundation, Board Advisor, Dept. of State, UNIDROIT, 1994 to 1995
  • Advisor, UNESCO World Heritage Convention, Sienna, 2002 - Present
  • New York City Bar Association Committee on Art Law, Chair
  • Art Table, Former Board Member
  • Williams Art Conservation Institute, Former Board Member
  • Explorers Club, Former Board Member
  • City Bar Association, Public art
  • New York City Bar Association Council on International Affairs, Present
  • Panel Expert, Member, International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Committee on Legal, Administrative and Financial Issues, 2005-present
  • Friends of the National Museum of Mali, President and Founder
  • Catalogue Raisonne Scholars Association
  • International Foundation for Art Research ("IFAR"), Legal Advisory Committee
  • Williams Art Conservation Institute, Former Trustee
  • The International Federation of Women in Legal Careers, Board member and US representative
  • The Crossed Purposes Foundation
  • The Antiquities Task Force Coalition 2016