Knoedler Sued Over Sale of $17 m Pollock

The Art Newspaper has a good update on the continuing saga of the Knoedler  Gallery in NYC.  The issues of Knoedler are growing with the recent suit and accusation of another fake, this time a Jackson Pollock painting purchased from Knoedler in 2007 for $17 million. Not only is the scandal growing, but it now appears to be impacting other large galleries.

The Art Newspaper reports

Legal papers and testimonies also suggest a number of leading art galleries have unwittingly been caught up in the scandals. Timothy Taylor Gallery and art dealer Jaime Frankfurt are named in the Lagrange papers as intermediaries in the sale of the Pollock. Court papers filed by the Dedalus Foundation state that Haunch of Venison opened its New York space in 2008 with a show that “put [a] supposed Newman painting from the so-called David Herbert collection [see box] in place of honour”. The current whereabouts of this work is unclear.


Both cases and the Beltracchi investigation lay bare the inherent problems of authenticating works of art in an industry reliant on reputation and trust—and the apparent ease with which determined forgers can pass works through the system.

 “This is very scary stuff,” says one prominent New York collector. “These are all people we know, and have been dealing with for years.” Blondeau, who was also a victim of Beltracchi, says that: “We are facing a very serious problem, especially because markets are so overheated­—historically, when markets are strong, forgeries appear.” He adds of his own involvement: “I was fooled—the works were an incredible quality.”

He is not the only person to have been caught out. “This should act as an alarm for dealers working in the post-war field,” says prominent New York dealer Richard Feigen, who acted as an agent in the sale of a faked Max Ernst work produced by the Beltracchi gang. He has subsequently repaid his client, and was reimbursed himself, but is “still struggling to retrieve the sales tax from the state of New York, which is over $250,000”. Feigen says that his gallery is “very careful about who we deal with and always have been. I know Ernst’s work intimately, and the leading Ernst expert [Werner Spies] said it was the best fake he ever saw.”
Source: The Art Newspaper

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