Saturday, December 08, 2007

"Is Alex Matter prepared to concede the paintings are not authentic? No. We don’t regard Mr. Martin’s conclusions as reliable." (UPDATED)

Long story in the East Hampton Star on the latest developments (see here) regarding the "Matter Pollocks." Helen Harrison, director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, notes that "there is a general reluctance to speak for attribution on any matter regarding Pollock and authenticity. 'Nobody wants to be in that position even with indemnification,' she said. A Pollock authentication committee disbanded several years ago. 'They wound up business after their third lawsuit.'"

There are also a number of quotes from Matter's lawyer, Jeremy Epstein of Shearman and Sterling, regarding forensic scientist James Martin, who reportedly held back on releasing the results of his research for fear that Matter would sue him if he did:

"'After the draft report was received we called him up and said we wanted to discuss it with him ...,' Mr. Epstein said of Mr. Martin. 'He refused to meet with me. . . . I’ve been a lawyer for 30 years and he’s the only hired expert I know of that declined to meet with the person who hired him.' Without such a meeting, Mr. Epstein said, they considered the report unfinished and had not authorized Mr. Martin to release it. 'We asked to see the underlying scientific documentation. He said it was destroyed, but he would recreate it if paid a lot more money. We refused.' Mr. Epstein added that he had not threatened litigation, as some news accounts have reported. 'I’ve said all along no one is threatening to sue anybody. It’s a figment of Mr. Martin’s imagination.'"

Although there was a general sense that Martin's IFAR presentation was the final nail in the Matter Pollock coffin, Matter, I guess we should not be surprised to learn, is not giving up. Epstein says additional research is being conducted in Europe, and it's "expected to take some time .... 'It’s going to be a while before all the facts are set forth.'"

UPDATE: Martin responds.