ArtDealer

The $80 Million Art Con

When one of the oldest and most respected art galleries in America, the Knoedler Gallery in New York, closed its doors abruptly in 2011, the art world was stunned. Not because the gallery closed, but by the discovery that over the course of 15 years, the gallery and its president, Ann Freedman, had sold millions of dollars in forgeries to wealthy collectors.

Stefan Simchowitz settles lawsuit with artist

Controversial art collector/dealer Stefan Simchowitz and Dublin dealer Jonathan Ellis King have settled their ongoing legal case with Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama. The terms of the settlement, which was reached on May 4, are confidential, but all parties will cover their own legal fees.

The battled stemmed from Mahama’s claims that Simchowitz and King were selling inauthentic artworks in his name. The dealers sued on a number of counts, including breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, commercial disparagement, and unfair competition.

Celebrity L.A. art dealer is held on US$1 million bail

Four years ago, the glitterati descended on the grand opening of Perry Rubenstein’s new art gallery in Hollywood.

Musician Neil Young, movie producer Steven Tisch and artist Shepard Fairey were among the guests who packed into the modernist space marked by its bold charcoal exterior and expansive white interior. The event spoke to Rubenstein’s status as a formidable dealer in the celebrity art world.

But since then, a series of legal disputes has led to a dramatic fall for the veteran art gallerist.

Bird in $2.5m 'Brett Whiteley' painting looked like 'wet rag', expert tells court

A bird painted on a fake Brett Whiteley painting which sold for $2.5 million looked like a “wet rag”, a court has heard.

Professor Robyn Sloggett, the director of the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, is a key Crown witness in the fraud case against art dealer Peter Gant and art conservator Mohamed Aman Siddique.

Mr. Gant and Mr. Siddique are accused of taking part in a joint criminal enterprise to create and sell fake Whiteley paintings.

Sotheby's defends suit over a Motherwell

In a lawsuit that can only be described as highly unusual, Irish art dealer Oliver Sears has sued Sotheby’s auction house in US District Court, Southern District of New York, over a purported Robert Motherwell painting consigned for auction this past fall that was withdrawn before the November sale, since it was believed to be a fake.

The case as laid out in the legal complaint is not entirely clear and often very confusing. But it appears that what Sears saw featured in the Sotheby’s catalogue titled Brushy Elegy, and dated 1979—a work he owns and has physical possession of in his native country of Ireland—was likely a copy. Sears’ attorney says he was alarmed not only by the fact of seeing what he believed was his painting for sale, but also by the far lower estimate of what he says his authentic Motherwell is worth.