The Mayor Gallery files lawsuit against Agnes Martin catalogue raisonné

A new lawsuit is brought by the Mayor Gallery against the Agnes Martin Authentication Committee underscores the importance of shielding authenticators from liability, and the problems inherent in the status quo.

The Mayor Gallery sold certain paintings to individual collectors in the belief (and representing) that the works were by Agnes Martin. The prices for the works ranged from US$2.9 million for Day & Night, to US$240,000 for an Untitled work, to US$180,000 for The Invisible, among many others. These works were all at some point, according to the Complaint, submitted to the Agnes Martin Catalogue Raisonné and its Authentication Committee.

The Mayor Gallery alleges that the various Agnes Martin works were submitted for authentication pursuant to the Authentication Committee’s Examination Agreement. In each work at issue, the Committee apparently rejected the idea that the works were authentic. The gallery argues that such rejection was reached with an inadequate level of interest or responsiveness, and as a result, it rescinded its sales to the individual owners and repaid the purchase price.

Court dismisses Board of Franz West Foundation

In the ongoing legal feud over the estate of the Austrian artist Franz West, the Austrian Supreme Court has dismissed the board of the Franz West Private Foundation, which currently controls the artist’s estate. The court found that the three person board paid themselves “suspicious" six figure sums in 2012.

According to Austrian daily Der Standard, the board members voted themselves onto the board of “Franz West Werknutzungs GmbH,“ a subsidiary company of the Franz West Private Foundation which received payments from the sale of West’s works.