Robert Frank adds a lot of detail to the Gerald Peters-Norman Waitt case that is slowly making its way toward a trial. Waitt was a good customer of Peters’s gallery buying $13m worth of art over a decade and more. Then Waitt bought a painting by Samuel Seymour with little market information behind it:
Mr. Peters says he urged Mr. Waitt not to buy the piece. In an interview, Mr. Peters said Mr. Waitt wasn’t an “appropriate” buyer, since he didn’t appreciate its historical and artistic significance. Mr. Waitt denies that Mr. Peters discouraged the purchase.
After Mr. Waitt bought the piece, he had his entire collection appraised by Sotheby’s, which valued almost all the paintings he bought from Mr. Peters at less than half their purchase prices, Mr. Waitt says. The company said it could not appraise the Seymour painting, given the artist’s lack of a sales history.
Mr. Waitt demanded his money back, but Mr. Peters refused, they both say. Mr. Peters said he offered to give Mr. Waitt a credit to buy other works. But Mr. Waitt said the other works offered in return were “not even close in value” to $1.2 million.
Mr. Waitt sued, claiming breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation. In legal discovery, Mr. Waitt learned that Mr. Peters bought “Buffalo Standing in a River” for $200,000 in 2008. Mr. Peters declined to comment on the price he paid for it. […] “We guarantee the title and authenticity, but we can not guarantee what happens in the market,” Mr. Peters said. […] Mr. Waitt has since hired an art adviser. “If you’re buying art as an investment,” he said, “you need a professional who knows what they’re doing.”
Blame Game Over a Rare Buffalo Painting (Wall Street Journal)