Colin Gleadell tries to explain disgraced art dealer Lawrence Salander’s fall:
What puzzled everyone was how a dealer with a good reputation for most of his years in business had made such a mess of things. For 30 years he ran a successful gallery specialising in pre-Impressionist 19th-century European art and early 20th-century American modern art from salubrious premises in the gallery district on 79th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. In 2003, the glossy lifestyle magazine The Robb Report judged it the best gallery in the world.
By then, Salander had already begun to look closely at the Old Masters market, sensing a business opportunity. […] The only problem was that to achieve this end, he was prepared to break the law.
Between April 2004 and November 2007, according to court documents, he was engaged in systematic fraud. The earlier date coincides with Salander’s key expansion decisions. In addition to his 66-acre property in Millbrook, a leafy suburb of New York, he spent nearly $7 million on a six-storey, seven-bedroom family home near the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He then took on his palatial new gallery. The rent alone was $154,000 a month.
But Salander reasoned that he needed more space to attract the new money that was going into contemporary art to invest in European Old Masters. As one dealer commented: “It’s as if a talented, successful pop singer decided to go into opera and then build himself La Scala.”
Judgment Day Looms for Larry Salander (Telegraph)