Patricia Cohen reports on the emergence of two new lawsuits against Knoedler and its former owners and director stemming from the fakes sold by Glafira Rosales:
In one, the Manny Silverman Gallery in Los Angeles and Richard Feigen’s gallery in New York are asking to be repaid $1,050,000 for a painting that was sold as a work by Clyfford Still in 2000 as part of a three-way transaction with Knoedler.
The other, filed by Martin and Sharleen Cohen of Los Angeles, states that in October 1998, the couple bought a work said to be by Mark Rothko that turned out to be a fake. It was purchased for them from Knoedler by an intermediary, the Michelle Rosenfeld Gallery.
The Still and the Rothko paintings were part of a trove of counterfeit artworks supplied to Knoedler and another dealer, Julian Weissman, by Glafira Rosales, who pleaded guilty to fraud in September.
The Cohens also purchased what the court filing described as a fake de Kooning that had been provided to Knoedler by another admitted forger,Tony “Cha-cha” Masaccio. The Cohens are demanding to be repaid $475,000 plus interest for the two works.
These two charts ought to be fairly self-explanatory. They show the total sales of the New York Contemporary auctions in May and November over a nine-year period. The top shows the sales total for the most recent sales and the average total for the entire period.
The Wall Street Journal’s Emily Glazer summarizes the creditors call for an independent valuation of the city’s art. It’s important to remember than in a Chapter 9 bankruptcy, the city cannot be forced to sell assets without a judge’s approval:
The creditors said they have not seen any valuation by the city of its art collection after waiting for months, said the person. The art, including works by Vincent van Gogh and Diego Rivera, has been speculated as worth more than $1 billion, according to the filing. The value of the art, if sold, could become key to boosting creditors’ recoveries in the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
The creditors requested that the art be assessed based on arms-length market transactions, which the court and creditors could match against estimates provided by the city of Detroit, according to the person. The creditors also said the city could avoid litigation if the creditors have a say in the art’s valuation, the person said.
The Detroit Free Press gives some more details:
In the filing, the creditors argued that Orr is not moving aggressively enough to monetize the art. They warned that the New York-based auction house Christie’s — which the city hired to assess the art’s value — may deliver an “inappropriately low assessment, substantially below the market value of the Art.”
Bond insurers FGIC, Syncora and Ambac Assurance; Michigan Council 25 of AFSCME, the city’s largest union; three European banks that own the lion’s share of the city’s pension obligation certificate debt; and several other creditors jointly filed the motion.
“To date, other than retaining Christie’s, the Emergency Manager has failed to provide creditors with any information regarding any further steps the City has taken or intends to take to explore options and strategies to monetize the art in a manner that maximizes value,” the creditors said in the filing.
The creditors called for Rhodes to appoint a committee of creditor representatives to hire a new outside authority to value the art, allowing the city and creditors to “explore a wide range of options to monetize the art, including options that preserve the DIA as a culturally relevant institution as well as enhance creditor recoveries, in order to reach a consensus about the treatment of the art under the plan.”
Detroit bankruptcy creditors ask judge to take steps toward sale of DIA treasures (Detroit Free Press)
Click on the image to be taken to this brief video from the New Yorker on Quebracho.
Colin Gleadell details the aggressive moves behind last week’s record sale of Stanley Spencer’s “Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta,” which appeared to be coming to auction from a single previous owner who bought it directly from Spencer’s dealer:
In 2010, the painting was exhibited by the St James’s gallery Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert, and acquired from it by the well-known Manchester collector of contemporary art, Frank Cohen – information that was omitted from the auction catalogue. The price Cohen paid was said to have been about £2.2 million. The auction record for Spencer at the time was the £1.4 million for Hilda and I at Pond Street, but those with their ears to the ground were confident that this record was soon going to be surpassed.
Sure enough, in the summer of 2011, the Spencer market took off when that record was trounced six times at Sotheby’s famed Evill/Frost sale, rising to £5.4 million.
The following year, Cohen exhibited his privately acquired trophy at Chatsworth House – an exhibition that was also excluded from the Christie’s catalogue – declaring that he had lost interest in contemporary art and was concentrating on his first love, modern British art.
In truth, though, he was pursuing his interests in both, and selling art to fund those interests. A sale of 140 or so contemporary works that was held in Paris this February was a bit of a damp squib, and raised barely £300,000, half what had been hoped for, to fund the opening in April of The Dairy – a not-for-profit contemporary arts and exhibition centre in London which Cohen shares with another dealer/collector, Nicolai Frahm.
A much better deal was struck when he offered Christie’s his Stanley Spencer and the auction house found a third party to guarantee the sale of the painting with an estimate of at least £3 million. Cohen had therefore made a profit even before the sale and, based on the Evill/Frost sale results, was looking at the possibility of making more. Certainly, Christie’s was promoting his painting as one of the most important by Spencer to come on to the market.
At the sale last Wednesday evening, there were at least three bidders in contention at £3.8 million, and one, an anonymous telephone bidder, at £5.3 million.
Art Sales: Spencer leads the British charge (Telegraph)
Linda Yablonsky declares Museo Jumex’s opening weekend the party to end all art parties:
When the international art world descends on Mexico City, Contramar becomes its exclusive club. At the risk of sounding like the Palm Beach Daily News’s Shiny Sheet, I can report that every table was seated with a different claque. Lisson Gallery’s Alex Logsdail and Angela Brazda snagged an outdoor table to catch the eye of everyone else going in. Dealer Gordon Veneklasen surrounded himself with Angelenos Rosette Delug, Wendy Stark, and Waldo Fernandez. Pérez-Rubio was tête-à-tête with Lorena Jáuregui, director of FONCA (Mexico City’s Fondos de Arte Contemporáneo). Noe Suro commanded a group that included Zwirner director Bellatrix Hubert, Kaplan, Massey, and artist Oscar Murillo, while Contramar’s indefatigable Gabriela Cámara presided over it all as if it were just another day at the ranch. […]
Here, the true measure of art-world regard for López and his grant-making foundation became visible. On hand were the entire board of the New Museum and part of MoCA LA’s—López is an active member of both—as well as directors or curators from the Hammer, the Nasher, the Guggenheim, LACMA, and MoMA PS1; dealers from seemingly everywhere; collectors Michael Chow, Thea Westreich and Ethan Wagner, Jennifer McSweeney, Alan Hergott, Maria Arena Bell; and artists including Anri Sala, Thomas Demand, Adam McEwen, Anne Collier, Lari Pittman and Roy Dowell, as well as Danh Vo, who just moved to Mexico City. Before the evening was out, many in the crowd who had sampled the local cuisine, the architecture, the warm weather, the cheap real estate, and the beautiful people were thinking of doing the same. “Omigosh,” exclaimed Alex Israel. “There’s Paulina Rubio!”
There’s a comprehensive show of Frida Kahlo’s life and work being done in San Diego right now but the event isn’t a museum show at all. It’s a traveling, for profit exhibition filled with copies of Kahlo’s work created by artisans in China:
All of Kahlo’s paintings (123) are in this show, but none of them were actually painted by her. And from the banners, advertisements, even the catalog that accompanies the exhibit, the audience is none the wiser.
The paintings on display are replicas of Kahlo’s work. They were commissioned from four Chinese artists who are not credited. Yet the press release announcing the exhibit says, “This is the only exhibition worldwide where all of her paintings can be seen in one place. Some paintings, especially from Kahlo’s early years, have never before been seen.”
Hugh Davies, David C. Copley director and CEO of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), didn’t mince words when asked about the exhibit, on view through mid-January.
“To have a show entirely of copies and to promote it as all Frida Kahlo’s paintings together for the first time is completely dishonest,” he said.
Frida Kahlo Paintings in San Diego: Do Audiences Know They’re Copies? (KPBS San Diego Public Radio & TV)
The New York Times marks the transition for Ryan McGinley (center with Dash Snow and Dan Colen) from bad boy to grand old man of the emerging art world:
It is a story line that Mr. McGinley knows well. Back in the early 2000s, he was at the center of a hard-partying crew of artists, most prominently Dan Colen and the late Dash Snow, who created a new myth of the downtown artist. Now 36, the former enfant terrible parties a little less (Mr. McGinley no longer drinks) and has matured into an improbable dean to the next generation of scrappy artists, with his Chinatown studio serving as a de facto clubhouse.
“It’s an education,” Mr. McGinley said recently in his studio, a tin-roofed loft on Canal Street that he originally shared with Mr. Colen. Surrounded by a hive of stylish assistants, Mr. McGinley sat in an anteroom that serves as his primary work space, still looking boyish in a white T-shirt and leather motorcycle jacket.
“In a way, it’s a curriculum, as I can give people advice because I’ve been through it,” he said.
“I was the first person to get attention within my crew, and I wanted people to share the success that I was enjoying.