First we had the lawsuit against Christie’s over the sale of the supposed da Vinci work discovered by a collector who had purchased the work from a dealer who had bought it when it was thought to be (and still may be) a 19th C German work. Now we have a far more self-defeating lawsuit that Lindsay Pollock reports on today on Bloomberg.
Marguerite Hoffman and her husband had promised works to the Dallas Museum of Art. Shortly after the husband’s death, Marguerite sold a Rothko very quietly to secretive collector David Martinez. Martinez is selling his Rothko tonight at Sotheby’s which seems to have frustrated Hoffman. Caught between her desire for secrecy and the lost value of a foregone public sale, she seems determined to have neither.
Hoffman’s suit accuses Martinez of breaking his contractual promise to “make ‘maximum effort’ to keep confidential ‘all aspects’ of the transaction through which he acquired it,” according to Hoffman’s suit. This agreement meant that Martinez “could not turn around, sell the painting at public auction, then pocket the premium that plaintiff had forgone,” according to the suit. […] Hoffman alleges that L & M owner Robert Mnuchin “expressly promised that the painting would ‘disappear’ into his undisclosed buyer’s ‘very private’ collection.”
It is unclear from the story whether Ms. Hoffman is more upset that a work that could be identified as part of her former promised gift to the museum is on the market or the lost money.