South Africa’s Times has a story that’s all too familiar in the art world no matter which continent:
At the centre of the furore is Johannesburg-based art dealer Harriet Hedley, who in 2008 was a Christie’s consultant when she was approached to assess four Pemba paintings owned by Tiny de Beer, 89, in Port Elizabeth.
De Beer said Hedley fetched the paintings and agreed to sell them on a commission basis after he contacted Christie’s “to sell four Pemba paintings”. [ … ] Hedley, who now works for Gilfillan Scott-Berning art consultants, later informed De Beer she had sold one of the Pemba paintings, At the Chief’s Place. She then paid him what he assumed was the sale price minus her commission – R70800.
But matters turned sour when De Beer found out the painting had been sold for substantially more to Old Auction House in Durban. In an affidavit submitted to court, he claims Hedley sold the painting to Old Auction House for R136735, and the auction house in turn sold it to a Port Elizabeth art dealer Llewellyn Kruger for R160000.