Holding Authentication for Ransom

Modigliani - Portrait de femme
Modigliani – Portrait de femme

Asher Edelman is a consultant on a Modigliani that his caught in a bit of an art world limbo. It seems to be in one catalogue raisonnée but not the other. Worse, when the owner’s representative, Thom Ingram, sought out the heirs of a previous dealer—Edmond Cohen-Tenoudji—for proof of the work’s provenance, he was stuck up for a share of the work’s value:

On July 4, 2011, by email, Tenoudji’s attorney, Matthieu Avril (“Avril”), advised Ingram that he currently represented Tenoudji and formerly represented Cohen. Avril informed Ingram that he would conduct a search of his firm’s historical archives for information pertaining to the history of the Painting.

On July 13, 2011, by email, Avril advised Ingram that his firm had found several pieces (the “Documents”) that could reconstruct the complete history of the Painting.

On July 14, 2011, by email, Ingram inquired as to the substance of the Documents Avril had located and the compensation required by Tenoudji.

On July 19, 2011, by email labeled “Confidential”, Avril advised Ingram that they would not reveal the substance of the Documents, and after conducting research, Tenoudji believed the value of the Documents should be based on a percentage of the sale price of the Painting.

French Art Dealer Demands Ransom for Modigliani Provenance (Art Assure)

Verified Complaint- 1.31.13 (2)