Showing posts with label Knoedler & Company. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Knoedler & Company. Show all posts

July 18, 2014

ARCA '14 Art Crime Conference: James Moore on "The Fall of the House of Knoedler: Fakes, Deception and Naiveté"

James C. Moore presenting at ARCA conference in Amelia
(Photo by Paula Carretero)
by Catherine Schofield Sezgin,
 ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

Retired trial lawyer James C. Moore presented "The Fall of the House of Knoedler: Fakes, Deception and Naiveté" in the first presentation of ARCA's Sixth Annual Interdisciplinary Art Crime Conference in Amelia on June 28.

Moore discussed how the Manhattan gallery, which had sold art since 1856 only to fall upon hard times in the middle of the 20th century, had drifted away from selling Old Masters and Cubist art to modern works where the competition was intense to gain access to the art.

Facing bankruptcy by the end of the 1960s, the gallery was sold to Armand Hammer in 1971 for $2.5 million. Under Hammer's leadership, Ann Freedman was hired a salesperson, but when ownership passed to Armand’s grandson Michael, he appointed Freedman director of the gallery with a focus on contemporary and abstract artists such as Rothko, de kooning, Diebenkorn, Motherwell, and Pollack.

In the early 1990s, Glafira Rosales appeared at the art gallery and showed Freedman an unknown Rothko sketch she claimed had been owned by a “Mr. X”, a closeted gay Filipino or Swiss man who had begun collecting abstract expressionist works which he had stored in Mexico – or Switzerland -- with the assistance of a New York art dealer, David Herbert. Rosales told Freeman that Mr. X had died and that his son -- identified only as "Mr. X, Jr." -- had decided to liquidate his father’s collection. And to do so, the paintings would be consigned, one at a time, to the Knoedler Gallery. Beginning in 1994, Rosales bought paintings every 3-6 months for a total of 40 works and agreed to sell them to the Knoedler Gallery for a fixed amount. Freeman would offer paintings for sale at higher prices – hanging the works in other shows by the artists, preparing write-ups, claiming that her experts had viewed the works although they had not authenticated them. In total, the Knoedler Gallery received $64 million for 40 paintings of which Rosales received $20 million.

In early 2000s, a Knoedler Gallery client bought a work ‘by Jackson Pollack’ for $2 million but after the painting failed authentication, the painting was returned and the purchase price refunded. Other similar events followed -- Sotheby’s would not sell a ‘Pollack’ in 2011, and when the owner asked for a $17 million refund, the gallery closed its doors.

The Knoedler Gallery has been named in eight lawsuits, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun an investigation of Ann Freedman, Glafira Rosales, and Rosales’ long-time companion Jose Carlos Bergantiños Diaz, who worked in a restaurant in New York City and sold art in the Chelsea district, along with Diaz's brother. According to Rosales, all of the paintings she sold to the Knoedler were fakes and were allegedly created by a 75-year-old artist, Pei-shen Qian, who was asked to create art in the style of abstract expressionist artists for people who could not afford originals. 

Before Rosales was arrested, Diaz went back to Spain and Qian went to China. Rosales pled guilty for collecting money and paying no income taxes (she sent the money to Spain). Rosales now faces sentencing up to 20 years. She is cooperating with federal authorities possibly in the hope of receiving a lesser sentence. Spain has been asked to send Diaz back to the U.S. to face charges.

Moore posed the question of accountability: 
Was Freedman actively or passively involved in the forgery scheme? No one but the buyers suing her has accused her of a crime. In fact, she sued a dealer for defamation who accused her of lack of care. Negligence (lack of care in verifying a paintings provenance) claims against dealers and galleries cannot be maintained when the parties have a contract relationship. The wording of the agreement between the parties, therefore, will be critical to the success or failure of the buyer's claim.

Moore also discussed the relative responsibilities of the gallery, the dealer, the expert authenticators and the buyer in fake painting claims.  Ultimately, Moore noted that as of this time, Rosales is free on bail, Freedman is running another gallery and is named as a defendant in eight lawsuits, the Diaz brothers are hoping not to leave Spain, and Qian is conducting art shows in Beijing.
  

Moore, an accomplished trial lawyer and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, is also a student of art history. http://www.jamesconklinmoore.com/

Friday, July 18, 2014 - No comments

The Knoedler Art Gallery and Controversy: Further Reading

http://www.getty.edu/research/special_collections/notable/knoedler.html
Gallery established in 1848

M. Knoedler & Company
http://research.frick.org/directoryweb/browserecord.php?-action=browse&-recid=6006
Gallery opened in 1848

http://research.frick.org/directoryweb/browserecord.php?-action=browse&-recid=7878
Knoedler bought out French owners in 1857

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/01/arts/design/knoedler-art-gallery-in-nyc-closes-after-165-years.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/realestate/midtown-streetscapes-the-art-palaces-of-knoedler.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/07/arts/design/knoedler-now-in-dispute-over-diebenkorn-drawings.html?pagewanted=all
Knoedler & Company
Diebenkorn family expresses doubts about authenticity of two works in 1993

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/06/arts/design/when-judging-arts-authenticity-the-law-vs-the-market.html?pagewanted=all
Three lawsuits claim paintings sold by Knoedler & Company

http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/grant/the-knoedler-mess-4-2-12.asp

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/nyregion/knoedler-gallery-is-accused-of-selling-fake-rothko-painting.html

http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/grant/the-knoedler-mess-4-2-12.asp
Anne Freedman -- complicit in fraud?

http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/news/corbett/knoedler-forgery-case.asp
Michael Hammer -- cooperative or elusive?

June 17, 2014

ARCA's Sixth Annual Interdisciplinary Art Crime Conference to open June 28th with panel highlighting "Recent US and EU Investigations"

The 2014 ARCA Interdisciplinary Art Crime Conference will open with:

The Fall of the House of Knoedler: Fakes, Deception and Naiveté
Presenter: James C Moore, Esquire, Arbitrator and mediator of commercial disputes; Formerly, partner and trial lawyer with large New York law firm and president of New York State Bar Association

Hello Dalí: Anatomy of a Modern Day Art Theft Investigation
Presenter: Jordan Arnold, Esquire, K2 Intelligence; Former Assistant District Attorney and Head, Financial Intelligence Unit, New York County District Attorney’s Office

The Gurlitt Case: German and international responses to the legal and ethical questions to ownership rights in looting cases
Presenters: Duncan Chappell, PhD Lawyer and Criminologist, Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney and Saskia Hufnagel, PhD Lecturer in Criminal Law; Queen Mary University of London Rechtsanwalt – Fachanwalt Strafrecht, Hufnagel und Partner

The Gurlitt Case: An Inside View From Christopher A. Marinello, Lawyer and Representative for the Heirs of Paul Rosenberg
Presenter: Christopher A. Marinello, Esq Director and Founder, Art Recovery International

The Knoedler Case: NYT's Cohen questions how art dealers weren't suspicious when artist signature was misspelled

Journalist Patricia Cohen in her June 11 article in The New York Times, "Note to Forgers: Don't Forget to Spell Check", says the misspelled artist signature was a clue:
When angry collectors started suing Knoedler & Company for selling dozens of multimillion-dollar forgeries, the gallery’s former president, Ann Freedman, insisted that she and her colleagues had had no reason to think that any of the paintings were counterfeit. “If Ann Freedman had any questions about these works, she and her husband would not have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in them,” her lawyer, Nicholas A. Gravante Jr., said of the paintings attributed to modern masters like Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. Now, newly released documents in a continuing civil case show that at least one of the works bought in 2000 by Ms. Freedman herself contained a prominent clue that something was awry. The artist’s signature was spelled incorrectly: Pollok instead of Pollock.
You can finish reading Ms. Cohen's article online for The New York Times.

Attorney James C. Moore will discuss the Knoedler case ("The Fall of the House of Knoedler: Fakes, Deception and Naiveté") on June 28 at ARCA's Sixth Annual Interdisciplinary Art Crime Conference in Amelia.

November 21, 2013

Knoedler & Company and Julian Weissman: Milton Esterow, Editor and Publisher of ARTnews, on "Fakers, Fakes & Fake Fakers" and the Glafira Rosales Art Fraud Case

In publisher Milton Esterow's article "Fakers, Fakes and Fake Fakers" in ARTNews, he focuses on art forgery and 'well-known forgers reveal the creative methods they use to copy the masters: David Stein (died 1999) who turned out Marc Chagalls; Eric Hebborn (murdered in Rome in 1996) who forged and misattributed to give the art experts something to discover; Leo Stevenson a 'London copyist' who has made copies for the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office; and Elmyr de Hory (suicide in 1976) the subject of Clifford Irving's biography Fake!.
Art forgery has been a hot topic lately since the disclosure that Pei-Shen Qian, a 73-year-old immigrant from China, working out of his home in Queens, reportedly created at least 63 drawings and paintings by Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Franz Kline, and Richard Diebenkorn.
The works were sold or consigned by Glafira Rosales, a dealer of Sands Point, New York, to two Manhattan dealers, Knoedler & Company, which closed in 2011, and Julian Weissman. Over a period of 15 years, the works were sold to collectors for about $80 million. Knoedler, its former president Ann Freedman, and Weissman have consistently stated that they were convinced that the works were authentic. Freedman says she showed the paintings to a number of experts, who confirmed the authenticity and quality of the works. 
The case against Rosales is known as United States of America v. Glafira Rosales, a/k/a “Glafira Gonzalez,” a/k/a “Glafira Rosales Rojas,” defendant. She pleaded guilty in September to charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion. As we went to press, no one else had been charged in the case, but Assistant United States Attorney Jason P. Hernandez indicated that additional arrests were contemplated.
In May, 2013, "Manhattan US Attorney Charges Art Dealer with Hiding Millions of Dollars in Income from Fraudulent Sales of Artwork";

In July, 2013, "Long Island Art Dealer Indicted in Massive Art Fraud, Money Laundering, and Tax Scheme"; and

In September 2013, "Art Dealer Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to $80 million Fake Art Scam, Money Laundering, and Tax Charges".