Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Curiouser still! (UPDATED)

Geoff Edgers has the latest twist in the "Matter Pollocks" saga in today's Boston Globe. Alex Matter is denying a report in yesterday's New York Times that he sold some of the paintings to dealer Ronald Feldman; he says he's only promised to reimburse Feldman "for about $200,000 in expenses for insurance, conservation, and other costs" if the works ever sell.

Edgers also discusses the conflict over the report Matter commissioned from James Martin, a forensic scientist based in Williamstown. Matter has reportedly refused to authorize Martin to release the report on the grounds that it is incomplete. Martin, for his part, refuses to meet with Matter and his lawyer to discuss the report unless they first agree not to sue him. I assume the agreement by which Martin was engaged to do the study defines the conditions under which it may be released, and that Matter therefore may have the legal right to prevent its release, but it seems to me he and his team have a bigger problem to deal with. Clearly Martin wants to release the report, and clearly the Pollock-Krasner Foundation wants him to release the report (its lawyer is quoted as saying "The foundation does not believe the report is incomplete"). By appearing to be the only party who doesn't want it released, Matter creates an impression that the report is really damaging to his cause. He almost has to allow it to be released now, and figure out a way to diminish its impact.

Edgers also reports that the Pollock-Krasner Foundation plans to issue its own report on the paintings this summer, which I hadn't heard before.

UPDATE: Now Matter has retracted his denial. He tells Edgers that Feldman does own some of the works, either outright or partially. "How many pictures? How much of a stake? Matter says he doesn't know. The deal is verbal, with no contract." Frankly I think it's a mistake for Matter to continue to be evasive about this. It hurts his credibility, and needlessly -- did anyone really think there was no financial motive here?