The de Sole-Freedman trial will ultimately hinge on whether the jury believes Ann Freedman that she had the support of a community of scholars and experts in her belief that the forged works that she sold were real. So far as the plaintiffs have introduced their witnesses, the idea has been hard to accept.
Several witnesses got on the stand and categorically announced that their names were being used without their knowledge or approval.
Yesterday, Rothko scholar David Anfam did the same. The defense, however, was able to poke some holes in that assertion:
During cross-examination, Luke Nikas, a lawyer for Ms. Freedman, introduced into evidence a series of emails exchanged by his client and Mr. Anfam in 2008 that appeared to depict them more as partners than adversaries. Ms. Freedman wrote an email about the possibility of a museum in Buffalo acquiring a Barnett Newman work. Mr. Anfam, apparently intending to assist in that effort, wrote back that he planned on sending the museum “a not-long yet highly persuasive email.”
That same year, Mr. Anfam also asked Ms. Freedman to borrow a work he had seen that the gallery had attributed to Pollock for a show he was curating.
That work, too, ended up being fake.
“Would you ever exhibit a work that you knew to be a forgery?” Mr. Nikas asked at one point.
“Not knowingly,” Mr. Anfam replied.
In Knoedler Art Fraud Trial, Expert Testimony on Fakes Weighs Heavily (The New York Times)