Lindsay Pollock chronicles on Bloomberg the troubles surrounding Knoedler gallery and the decision to cash in its real estate holdings:
Signs of unrest at the gallery began to appear in October with the resignation of Freedman, director for 32 years and additionally president for the past 15 years. Frank Del Deo, the gallery’s former director and senior vice president, was promoted to Freedman’s role. Freedman and the gallery declined to discuss her departure.
In December, associate director Per Haubro Jensen, a 10- year veteran, was fired. Hammer and Del Deo declined to be interviewed. Solidarity with Freedman and consternation over the murky circumstances behind her departure led some artists to quit the gallery.
Artist Lee Bontecou, whose canvas and metal sculptures have sold for as much as $847,500 at auction, subsequently left the gallery, as did the estate of painter Jules Olitski. A major Olitski show, slated to open in November, was canceled. “We didn’t want this show to get lost in the middle of the mess that was brewing,” said Lauren Poster, the artist’s daughter, who is the director of the Olitski estate. Olitski’s paintings retail for $200,000 to $300,000, Poster said. She described Freedman as “an extraordinary art dealer,” and said not having her there during the Olitski show was “completely unacceptable.”