An Update On Two Art Cases In the News: Trial Postponed in Christie’s Diamond Case, While Fraud Case Against Wildenstein Proceeds
12/02/2019This fall has seen developments in two cases we’ve been following. Each case raises unique substantive legal issues, but the recent developments also serve to highlight the costs and complexity of litigating art disputes in court.
Further Relief For Art Authenticators: New York State Court Dismisses Second Complaint Against Agnes Martin’s Catalogue Raisonné
09/06/2019This summer, a New York Supreme Court judge threw out another complaint filed in a long-running legal battle between London art dealer James Mayor’s gallery and members of the Agnes Martin catalogue raisonné committee, providing further comfort for art authenticators who may face litigation in retaliation for their opinions.
Trust Sues Wildenstein & Co. Over 1985 Sale of Inauthentic Bonnard Work
A trust entity affiliated with prominent art collector Neil Wallace has sued a prominent art gallery over a 1985 sale of a work that was only recently discovered to be fake. The case will likely explore issues related to timeliness in art disputes, as well as questions related to the diligence required by buyers and sellers of artworks.
Old Master Forgery Story Update: New Developments In Two Sotheby’s Lawsuits to Recover Proceeds From Sales of Alleged Fakes
04/12/2019We have written on several occasions (see here, here, and here) about the tangle of disputes that have arisen from the discovery of multiple suspected forgeries of Old Master artworks. Now, one such dispute has reached a settlement, and another has resulted in a judgment for Sotheby’s; but other questions about these works, and the Old Master market generally, remain.
Lawsuit Concerning Forged Leon Golub Works Partially Survives Summary Judgment
08/09/2018In an important ruling issued last week, a federal judge allowed fraud claims asserted by art collector Andrew Hall to proceed against a former art-history professor and her son, Lorettan and Nicholas Gascard, alleging that they sold him a number of forged Leon Golub works. The court’s decision is instructive for collectors who may have been duped into purchasing forged artworks, only to discover many years later that they were fakes.
Encouraging News For Art Authenticators: New York State Court Tosses Claims Against Agnes Martin’s Catalogue Raisonné
04/11/2018In an important ruling issued last week, a New York state court dismissed claims by an art dealer who sued an artist’s catalogue raisonné for rejecting works the plaintiff had submitted for authentication. The case has the potential to set an important precedent protecting art authenticators from disgruntled art owners.
New Mexico Merchant Will Be First Person Ever Sentenced Under Indian Arts and Crafts Act
03/19/2018New Mexico jewelry merchant Nael Ali will soon become the first person ever sentenced under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act (“IACA”), a decades-old federal law that prohibits the sale of fake Native American goods.
Artist James Castle's Estate Sues Publisher and Author of Forthcoming Book About Castle
10/27/2017In a new lawsuit, the estate of American artist James Castle is suing publisher Scholastic and author/illustrator Allen Say over a forthcoming book about the artist, which the estate claims infringes on the copyrights of dozens of Castle works.
Serial Forger Indicted Again
06/30/2016Convicted forger Vincent Lopreto has been arrested again in connection with forged artworks, having allegedly commenced another art-fraud scheme just weeks after his release from a two-year prison sentence for a similar crime.
Case of Forged Golub Works Will Move Forward
06/27/2017Andrew Hall will be able to pursue his suit against Lorettann and Nikolas Gascard, who Hall alleges sold forgeries of paintings by American artist Leon Golub. Hall sued the former art-history professor and her son last fall in federal district court in New Hampshire, claiming that he purchased twenty-four works, either directly from the Gascards or indirectly through auction houses. Hall sued the Gascards for fraud, seeking the return of the approximately $700,000 purchase price for the works.
Recent Legal Developments Regarding Forgeries Serve As Warnings To Collectors
05/04/2017 | By Kate LucasWe have continuously followed stories in the news and in the courts about the continuing efforts of the art market to deal with the problem of forgeries. From the Knoedler scandal to the concerns about counterfeit Old Masters being peddled on the European market, this issue is clearly not going away anytime soon. Today, we take note of developments in three more cases that shine a spotlight on this ongoing challenge.
Antiques Dealer Ordered to Pay $1.1 Million Over Sale of Fake Renoir
04/06/2017New York gallery owner Alex Komolov has emerged victorious in litigation against antiques dealer Jack Shaoul arising out of the sale of a fake Renoir. Komolov, owner of the Alskom Gallery, sued Shaoul in 2013 for unjust enrichment, conversion, and fraudulent misrepresentation, claiming that the dealer sold him a forged Renoir painting for $1.1million in 2010. After trial, a jury awarded Komolov the full purchase price plus interest. According to Komolov’s attorney, Shaoul previously served 40 months in prison for mail and wire fraud and conspiracy, including misattribution of a painting.
Old Master Forgery Story Update: Sotheby’s Files Another Suit To Recover Sale Proceeds, This Time From Sale of Allegedly Fake Hals
03/09/2017In November, we wrote about increasing scrutiny of multiple Old Master artworks that have recently come under suspicion as potential forgeries. And in January, we posted about a federal lawsuit Sotheby’s has filed in connection with the scandal; in that suit, Sotheby’s seeks to recover sale proceeds from a collector who sold one of the fake works at a 2012 Sotheby’s auction. Now, the fallout continues; in February, Sotheby’s filed a second suit over another artwork, this time in the U.K. court system; as with the first suit, the auction house’s goal is to claw back the proceeds of a sale of a work sold through Sotheby’s that has since been shown to be a fake.
Sotheby’s Sues Consignor To Recover Sale Proceeds From Auction of Allegedly Fake Parmigianino, Amid Continuing Fears About Old Master Forgeries
01/29/2017In November, we wrote about increasing scrutiny of multiple Old Master artworks that have recently come under suspicion as potential forgeries. Now, federal litigation has commenced in connection with the scandal, as Sotheby’s attempts to recover sale proceeds from a collector who sold one of the fake works at a 2012 Sotheby’s auction.
Forgery Case Highlights Importance of Pre-Sale Diligence
01/27/2017Andrew Hall, a hedge-fund manager and art collector, filed suit against Lorettann Gascard, a former art-history professor at Franklin Pierce University, and her son, Nikolas, alleging that the Gascards sold him twenty-four artworks by the famed artist Leon Golub that actually were forgeries. The Gascards are now firing back that Hall alone should be held responsible for his failure to conduct adequate pre-sale diligence; a common refrain among accused fraudsters looking to cast blame back on sophisticated art collectors, like Hall.
Prince’s Disavowal of Ivanka Trump Work Raises Questions About An Artist’s Role In Defining His Oeuvre
01/17/2017Richard Prince is no stranger to controversy; indeed, it’s arguably an essential element of his art. We’ve written in recent years about several copyright infringement cases against Prince involving his practice of “appropriation” of others’ artworks as part of his own.
Suit Over Cady Noland Artwork Ends Without Significant Ruling on VARA
01/03/2017We’ve written before about conceptual artist Cady Noland, whose works command huge prices in the market, but who has a history of being highly particular about how her creations are installed, maintained, exhibited, and sold on the secondary market. This tendency has resulted, on at least two recent occasions, in litigation over her disavowal of previous works. Now, both cases have been resolved, but without significant judicial examination of the contours of an artist’s right to disavow her own creations.
Fake Old Master Painting Uncovered in Europe Raises Fears of More Sophisticated Forgeries on the Market
11/02/2016The art world is watching with concern the unfolding story of a fake Frans Hals painting; facts are still developing as of this writing, but it’s possible that the work may not be an isolated forgery but rather the harbinger of a larger group of well-executed fakes that could shake up the Old Master market.
South Korea Seeks to Increase Regulatory Oversight of Art Market
10/27/2016The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has passed new legislation imposing strict regulations on art transactions. The law is intended to increase transparency in the art market by requiring more documentation, and establishing regulatory bodies to oversee the authentication of artworks and investigation of forgeries. The law may be implemented as early as August 2017.
Elliot Stevens Gallery and Customer Head To Court Over Allegedly Fake Sculptures
09/23/2016A disgruntled client’s claims against the Elliot Stevens Gallery and its executive are headed to trial this fall in a dispute involving the client’s purchase of a group of sculptures.
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