Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Plaintiffs have offered ample circumstantial evidence demonstrating that Freedman acted with fraudulent intent and understood that the Rosales Paintings were not authentic."

"This evidence includes, inter alia, the fabricated stories of provenance, which shifted dramatically over time; the efforts to concoct a 'cover story' with Rosales; Rosales’ willingness to repeatedly sell purported 'masterworks' to Knoedler for a fraction of their value on the open market; Rosales’ refusal to share any meaningful information about the purported source of the paintings, and her unwillingness to sign a statement representing that the paintings were authentic; Rosales’ inconsistent accounts of the size and scope of Mr. X’s collection, which grew over time to include more than thirty hitherto undiscovered 'masterworks'; the absence of any documentation concerning the paintings; the issues raised about the Diebenkorns Rosales brought to Knoedler early on; and the October 2003 IFAR Report – which Freedman reviewed – and which rejected the concocted provenance tale concerning Ossorio and raised serious concerns about the authenticity of the 'Green Pollock' purchased by Jack Levy."

The judge in the Knoedler lawsuits issued his written decision on the summary judgment motions last week.  Graham Bowley has a good write-up in the Times here.  The Art Market Monitor has posted the decision here.  Trial is set for January.

Lots of interest within the decision, including the way the court distinguishes (in footnote 27) the ACA Galleries case from a couple years ago, where summary judgment was granted because the purchaser "had the opportunity to fully investigate the authenticity of the painting but failed to do so."  Judge Gardephe says:

"The facts here are not comparable.  Plaintiffs do not not operate art galleries, and they are not in the business of buying and selling works of art.  Instead, they are consumers who relied on representations made by one of the most reputable and most established art galleries in New York City."