Privatdozent Dr. Dr. Grischka Petri

Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn and University of Glasgow

Curriculum Vitae

Grischki Petri studied Applied Cultural Science at the University of Lüneburg as well as Art History, Philosophy and Law at the University of Bonn. He would continue to earn two doctoral degrees from the University of Bonn: one in law in 2003, with a thesis on doping sanctions, and the other in philosophy in 2006, with a dissertation about the career of James McNeill Whistler and the contemporary art market. After passing the first state examination in law in 1998, he worked until 2002 as a researcher at the Department for Private Law, Labor Law, and Civil Procedure at the University of Bonn. He then completed a legal clerkship and passed the second state examination in law in 2005. Following a period as a researcher at the Department for Civil Procedure at the University of Bonn, Grischka Petri acted as a part-time postdoctoral research associate. During this time, he was tasked with compiling the catalogue raisonné of Whistler’s etchings from 2006 to 2011 and the catalogue raisonné of his paintings from 2011 to 2017. Between 2007 and 2020, he held various positions at the Art History Institute at the University of Bonn, serving most recently as a non-tenured academic councilor. In 2017, he completed his habilitation in Art History with a thesis on “Artist Ethos and Control Regime. An Art History of the Copyright Law”. Since earning his postdoctoral degree, he has been Junior Professor for Art Markets and Art History at the University of Cologne on an interim basis. Furthermore, he was a trustee of the Association of Art Historians in London from 2011 to 2017. From 2012 to 2014, and again from 2017 until present, he has been an honorary research fellow at the School of Culture and Creative Arts at the University of Glasgow.

After a first successful research stay at the Käte Hamburg Center for “Law as Culture” from October 2014 to March 2015 with a project focusing on “Cultures of Copyright”, Grischka Petri was once again Fellow at the center from April to September 2020.

Research Project I

"Cultures of Art Copyright"

Since Enlightenment, copyright and moral rights have been an influential factor and component of occidental culture. The project “Cultures of Art Copyright” pursues a multi-faceted research problem. First, the relationship between copyright and artistic practice shall be investigated in detail. Second, the position of artists in different cultures of copyright shall be further illuminated. Finally, the results from this analysis can be related to selected paradigms of the modern, author-centric cultural understanding. If it is true that copyright is rooted in general economic and social foundations and is, therefore, a cultural product, then the fact that these foundations are special for the visual arts must have special effects. Through its analysis, the project further seeks to contribute to a better understanding of a visual culture that at times encounters “translation problems” in legal cultures that are informed by texts.

Research Project II

“Monoculture. Cultural Cartels and Alternative Communities” A Contribution on the Development of an Economically Critical Analysis of Law"

Cultural events and channels of communication are increasingly succumbing to monopolistic structures. These include sporting events, such as the Olympics or the Football World Cup, and online communications platforms, such as YouTube and Facebook, alike. The terms and conditions of corporations with global reach have a de facto normative effect here. Plans to establish a separate Facebook currency, for example, confirm this image of power relations. Time and time again, the setting of such norms is perceived as a violation of civil liberties. The censorship of art online, ousting of small businesses through market law, and restriction of those in contracts with academic publishing houses expressively evidence this development. In this process, it is not just a “side effect” that communities are defined and that social groups are included and excluded. Sports, art, science, and culture possess non-commercializable elements that represent genuine community values. The law must protect these; however, the control instruments available (such as content control of terms and conditions and articles of association, award procedures, and court proceedings) do not always suffice. This project focuses on three main aspects: [1] the structural analysis of existing monopolies and monopoly-inclined constellations, such as between the provider and its platforms, [2] the development of approaches to solutions from the past and present in order to overcome or lessen these constellations, and [3] the formulation of practical interfaces that both allow for legal instruments to be used in a cultural sense and transcend an exclusively economics-based logic. The category of the community plays a prominent role here. It is being monopolized by the platforms themselves – yet cultural communities that are not based solely on the acceptance of prescribed terms and conditions offer their own ideas of justice.  

Publications (selected)


  • Arrangement in Business. The Art Markets and the Career of James McNeill Whistler. Hildesheim (among others): Olms, 2011
  • Die Dopingsanktion. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2004
  • Der Bildprozeß bei August Strindberg. Köln: Seltmann & Hein, 1999


  • With Doris H. Lehmann: Eklektizismus und eklektische Verfahren in der Kunst. Hildesheim / Zurich / New York: Olms, 2012
  • With Thomas Dreier, Matthias Weller, and Wolfgang Ullrich: Bild und Recht – Studien zur Regulierung des Visuellen, Baden-Baden: Nomos


  • Privileg und photographische Freibeuterei. Momentaufnahmen aus der Geschichte des Reproduktionsrechts an gemeinfreien Werken, in: Von analogen und digitalen Zugängen zur Kunst. Festschrift für Hubertus Kohle zum 60. Geburtstag, edited by Maria Effinger, Stephan Hoppe, Harald Klinke, and Bernd Krysmanski, Heidelberg 2019, 410–432
  • Über den Stil aus urheberrechtlicher Sicht, in: Stil als (geistiges) Eigentum / Style as (Intellectual) Property, edited by Julian Blunk and Tanja Michalsky, Munich 2018, 35–53
  • La propriété c’est le vol? Reproducing art at the museum in: Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik: Copy Ethics. Theory and Practice 26 (2018), 99–123
  • “Jeder Kuh ihr Kälbchen” und “The Battle of the Book”: Zur Geschichte eines irischen Rechtsspruchs in: Inszenierungen von Sichtbarkeit in mittelalterlichen Bildkulturen, edited by Henriette Hofmann, Caroline Schärli, und Sophie Schweinfurth, Berlin 2018, 307–324
  • Rechtsverhältnisse als künstlerische Mittel, in: Festgabe Institut für Recht und Technik. Erlanger Festveranstaltungen 2011 und 2016, edited by Klaus Vieweg, Köln 2018, 423–443
  • The Color of Law, in: Art and Law, edited by Werner Gephart and Jure Leko, Frankfurt am Main 2017, 341–362
  • Farbe und Farbigkeit des Rechts, in: Kultur im Recht – Recht als Kultur. Tagungsband des neunten Heidelberger Kunstrechtstags, edited by Matthias Weller und Nicolai Kemle, Baden-Baden 2016, 91–112
  • The Public Domain vs. the Museum: The Limits of Copyright and Reproductions of Two-dimensional Works of Art in: Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies 12 (2014), <>