Asher Edelman had federal marshals seize art works worth ten times the value of an insurance judgment against Galerie Gmurzynska for a damaged Robert Ryman painting, Lindsay Pollock reports on Bloomberg:
The lawsuit alleged that in 2007 Edelman consigned Ryman’s 1985 “Courier I” to Gmurzynska for sale at Art Basel Miami Beach and was insured for $750,000. The work was returned with a “deep indentation,” or “gouge” according to the lawsuit, and the defendant refused to pay the insured value.
The suit claims an additional $250,000 for “willful conduct of defendant” and “reprehensible motives and such wanton dishonesty as to imply a criminal indifference to civil obligations.” The suit resulted in a default judgment for the plaintiff for about $765,000.
“We had a judgment against Gmurzynska for damages done to a work of art and executed the judgment on behalf of the insurance company,” Edelman said in a telephone interview from his booth at the Art Miami fair across town.
Having the seizure take place on the floor of ArtBasel Miami Beach was a bold and, to hear Gmurzynska’s take, precipitous move:
Gmurzynska’s lawyer, Peter R. Stern of McLaughlin & Stern LLP, declined to discuss ownership of the seized artworks, and it is unknown whether they are gallery inventory or works on consignment.
“The gallery was totally surprised by the events that occurred,” said Stern. “Edelman Arts, unbeknownst to the gallery, obtained a default judgment against my client without warning. The marshals appeared. The gallery is attempting to clarify the matter.”