Robin Pogrebin unearthed a Motherwell saga in the New York Times this weekend:
Ms. Banach was hired by Motherwell in 1981 “to care for, consign and otherwise manage his artwork,” her lawsuit says. Over the next decade she worked closely with him at his studio in Greenwich, Conn., and occasionally at his summer residence in Provincetown, Mass. Ms. Banach was an author or editor of two books on him, including a catalogue raisonné, or definitive listing, of his prints; assisted other writers with their Motherwell publications; and helped prepare major museum shows for him. [ . . . ]
Ms. Banach contends in her lawsuit that the foundation carried out “a malicious campaign” to remove her. In particular, the complaint states that from December 2007 to August 2008, Jack Flam, the foundation’s president and chief executive, “flouted established procedure and made a series of mistakes and misjudgments about the authenticity of Motherwell works.”
Because Ms. Banach challenged those judgments, the lawsuit says, Mr. Flam sought to discredit her and terminate her employment. [ . . . ] The court papers describe Mr. Flam as “a man with overstated expertise in Motherwell’s work, a temper against any who would challenge him, and a desire to promote himself without regard for the legacy of the artist.”
Ms. Banach describes consigning two Motherwell sketches to Christie’s auction house in July 2008 that had been given to her by the artist in early 1991. Mr. Flam, who did not realize that they belonged to Ms. Banach, told Christie’s that the sketches were not authentic, according to her lawsuit. He subsequently agreed to reverse his opinion, Ms. Banach’s complaint says, and to assure the auction house that the works were genuine.
A Tug of War Over Robert Motherwell (New York Times)