Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dismissed (UPDATED)

From the New York Law Journal:

"Allegations that a prominent Manhattan art dealer appraised a painting by Paul Gauguin at millions of dollars above its value without revealing that the dealer had an 'ownership interest' in the piece have been dismissed."

The decision, by State Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman, is here. The facts are odd. The plaintiff was informed by an Amir Cohen that the painting was available and, interested in buying, "requested Cohen to procure an appraisal." Cohen recommended Guy Wildenstein, who then provided a written appraisal to Michel Reymondin, "a non-party to this action whose relationship to plaintiff and the transaction at issue in not disclosed in the complaint." Wildenstein appraised the painting at $15-17 million, allegedly without disclosing that his gallery once owned the painting. "The complaint alleges that plaintiff received the Appraisal ..., but does not state how it obtained the Appraisal from Reymondin." Plaintiff paid $11.3 million for the painting, which it then tried to sell at Christie's, but it failed to reach its $12 million reserve. The lawsuit followed, but the claims all failed because there was no relationship between plaintiff and Wildenstein -- the appraisal was obtained by the mystery middle man, Reymondin.

UPDATE: The story gets The New York Post headline treatment: "Art Dealer Easels Out Of Lawsuit."