Thursday, February 28, 2013

"When an art gallery has access to information regarding a painting's authenticity, but fails to pursue the information, it cannot reasonably rely on defendant's representations or omissions regarding the painting."

Been extra-busy with the day job (not to mention the really fun stuff), so I've fallen a little behind on some art law news.  I see that, last week in the Southern District, Judge Cederbaum granted summary judgment for the defendant (representing himself pro se) in a case involving a fake Milton Avery painting.  ACA Galleries bought the painting from Joseph Kinney for $200,000 and, "shortly after" the sale was completed, took it to the Avery Foundation, who told them the work was a fake.  The most interesting part of the decision is the holding that even if Kinney knew it was a fake -- even if, that is, he committed fraud -- the case should still be dismissed because ACA didn't do its own investigation.  "The very fact that ACA felt the need to seek authentication by the Avery Foundation after the purchase indicates that it knew how to do so prior to the purchase. ACA's decision to wait is not protected under New York law."