Add Canadian theatre magnate David Mirvish to the list of former clients suing the once blue chip giant Knoedler & Company. According to The New York Times reporter Patricia Cohen, this is the fifth lawsuit filed against Knoedler since the gallery closed in November 2011, amidst allegations of selling forged art works.
Said paintings had been procured from a little-known dealer in Long Island named Glafira Rosales (now under investigation by the FBI), as had the three works Mirvish has cited in his suit. Mirvish, though, had bought three so-called Pollocks with the express intention of selling them at a profit; he maintains that the paintings are real and is thus suing the gallery for not working hard enough to sell them.
That task would have been tough for the gallery, though, given that the authenticity of the one painting they’d already sold of his was already in question. Known as “The Silver Pollock”, the work was initially sold in 2007 for $17 million to a London hedge fund manager, Pierre Lagrange. Four years later, Lagrange had the painting forensically tested, only to learn that the painting was a fake. He informed Knoedler he was planning on suing the gallery just one day before it announced its closure in 2011.
Mr. Lagrange has since settled his suit, but the terms remain unknown to the public.
It’s worth noting that Mirvish’s investment in the paintings, which were bought specifically for resale, gives the collector a financial stake in their authenticity and future sale. According to ARTINFO’s Shane Ferro, former Knoedler gallery president Ann Freedman is not only unnamed as a defendant in this suit, but her lawyer, Nicholas Gravante, will be representing Mirvish. Gravante is a change of representation for Freedman, who in 2011, contracted the services of Ronald Spencer esq.