Monday, July 31, 2006

Appraisal Suit

Bloomberg News reports that Guy Wildenstein and his family's art dealership have been sued in New York State Court for appraising a Gauguin painting without disclosing their ownership interest in it. The complaint alleges that Wildenstein said the painting was worth $15-17 million, in reliance upon which the plaintiff purchased it for $11.3 million in Aug. 2000. When they put it up for sale at Christie's that November, it failed to sell (the high bid was $9 million, presumably below the reserve price). The plaintiff wants the sale rescinded and the purchase price refunded. An artnet story from Nov. 2000 indicates that Christie's estimated the piece at $12-16 million (not too far off from the Wildenstein estimate).