In April 2011, Paddy Johnson reported that artist Dana Melamed sued Priska C. Juschka in Federal Court. Gallery owners Priska Juschka and Arnold Katzen owed Melamed commission for the sale of artwork. Since then, the artist and gallery have each signed a settlement in which the gallery has admitted fraud.
According to the initial suit, the artist failed to receive full payment for several works sold at Art Basel, together priced at $143,650. Instead of receiving 50% of the sale price, the gallery told her that the works had sold for $98,000, misrepresenting the amount the work was purchased for. Prior to the settlement, Melamed had previously been paid only $10,000 in installments.
Today, according to email correspondence with Melamed:
A settlement was signed between Priska and [me] in Dec 2011…[I]n it the gallery admitted to have received full payment for the Art Basel sale [of $143,650] in June 2009 and failed to pay the artist…[As of April 12, 2012] the gallery fully paid me my share in the Basel sale which was out of $143,600 and not the $98,000.
Unsurprisingly, Priska C. Juschka’s business has suffered since Melamed’s lawsuit. In April 2011, Priska Juschka Fine Art was formally dissolved as a corporate entity. And later that year, a second lawsuit was brought against the gallery, this time by SEM Art in Monaco, for failing to receive several Melamed artworks sold to them, but which had not left the artist’s possession. According to Melamed, two of the three disputed works have been sent to SEM Art.
As if this list of woes wasn’t enough for Priska C. Juschka’s future, criminal activity regarding the gallery co-owner Alred Katzen has come out of the woodwork. This includes a 2003 federal indictment charging Arnold Katzen with attempting to launder drug money by selling a Degas to an undercover agent posing as a drug dealer. True story.
As for Priska C. Juschka’s future plans, the gallery website states that they “are moving to a new location.” With the gallery’s current financial woes and tarnished reputation, we can’t imagine a new space ever happening.