Friday, September 10, 2010

Arrest in Corot Case

The New York Times:

"The case of a portrait by a 19th-century French painter that supposedly disappeared after a night of drinking by the man who had it took another twist on Thursday.

"Thomas A. Doyle was arrested and charged with defrauding an investor in the painting by lying about its cost, according to a criminal complaint filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

"Mr. Doyle, who had previously been convicted of art fraud, arranged to buy the painting, 'Portrait of a Girl' by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, from an art gallery in New York for $775,000, but told the investor, who is from Japan, and a broker from Vancouver, British Columbia, that the purchase price was $1.1 million, according to the complaint.

"So the Japanese investor, who was buying an 80 percent stake in the painting, sent him $880,000 for the transaction, which was completed in June, the complaint said. Mr. Doyle also misled the investor and the broker by telling them he had a buyer for the painting lined up to pay $1.7 million, the complaint said. The painting was actually appraised at $500,000 to $700,000, the complaint said, and there was no ready buyer."

The Art Market Monitor notes an oddity in the story.

Jessica Pressler: "Ha, yeah, this con artist has sure painted himself into a corner."