Update: Donn Zaretsky at TheArtLawBlog tells us the suit was filed in February–and we’d trust Donn on the matter–which makes this “news” item old news but doesn’t obviate the bigger question of what Halsey Minor hopes to accomplish in the art market.
The continuing saga of Halsey Minor and the art auction market remains unresolved took another turn this week with Christie’s several months ago following their competitors in suing Minor to force the entrepreneur to pay for works he won at auction:
Christie’s have launched a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Minor for breach of contract after he failed to pay for three major works he bid for successfully at auction. Including premium, the three works – a van Dyck, a Stubbs and a Stringer – should have cost Minor more than $7m, but Christie’s have accused him of bidding when he knew he did not have the wherewithal to pay for them.
What made the matter worse, claim Christie’s, is that because Minor continued to promise to pay for the pictures, whilst not actually doing so, they were prevented from re-offering them, with a consequent loss of revenue.
Minor’s art market adventures seem about as coherent as his collecting which is to say there may be a strategy animating his actions but it is hardly discernible to those on the outside. It would be interesting to know if Minor only toys with the auction houses or whether he’s engaged dealers in similar dances.
Christie’s Continue Minor Courtroom Drama (Antiquestradegazette.com)