According to auction house personnel who were offered the consignment, Ann Freedman sold a large Adolph Gottlieb painting in Christie’s May Post-War and Contemporary Evening sale. Although she had previously consulted for Phillips, this sale marked her return to the heart of the art business after the resolution of the de Sole civil lawsuit.
Last night, 60 Minutes brought the whole story back into the spotlight but from a slightly different angle. 60 Minutes credits Flam with going to the FBI and getting them to launch an investigation. Glafira Rosales, the intermediary who sold the paintings, has agreed to cooperate. During the trial, the judge speculated that the Rosales’s lack of sentencing suggested the government was still planning prosecutions. The most likely target is Carlos Bergantinos-Diaz who will be extradicted to the US.
The key to the entire fraud remains Knoedler and its reputation which allowed the works to enter the art market without much in the way of real due diligence. Here’s how Flam illustrates that:
Jack Flam says he was assured that Glafira Rosales was an elite international art dealer, but when he hired private detectives to investigate her gallery, all they found was this modest house in Great Neck, Long Island.
Jack Flam: It was just a house in a neighborhood with newspapers lying in the yard.
Anderson Cooper: That was the gallery?
Jack Flam: That was the gallery.
Anderson Cooper: Not exactly the kind of gallery you expected?
Jack Flam: No, it wasn’t what I expected.
Jack Flam’s investigators also discovered Glafira Rosales’ boyfriend, Carlos Bergantinos-Diaz, had been accused of selling forgeries in Spain.
Jack Flam: I was frankly very surprised that no one at Knoedler seems to have done the simplest background check.
Anderson Cooper: How long did it take investigators to find out this information?
Jack Flam: About a week.
$80 Million Con (CBS News)