Given all the press surrounding the Gagosian gallery, it is striking when a story appears that puts the world’s premier art dealer in the position of unwitting misfeasor. The New York Times’s Randy Kennedy reports on a lawsuit launched by a collector who accuses Gagosian of selling a Richard Prince work out from under him to a buyer with a higher offer and of proffering a Mark Tansey painting that is partially owned by New York’s Metropolitan Museum.
Even with Gagosian’s fearsome reputation, it comes to pass that the issue of the Met’s ownership was not purposefully concealed either by Gagosian gallery or by the seller, former art dealer and ArtForum publisher, Charles Cowles:
“Charles Cowles represented that he had clear title to the painting, which was viewed for sale in his apartment, and the gallery acted in good faith at all times in selling the painting.”
Mr. Cowles, reached at his apartment Friday, said that he considered the whole dispute his mistake. He said that after the museum returned the painting to him “I didn’t even think about whether the Met owned part of it or not.”
“And one day I saw it on the wall and thought, ‘Hey, I could use money’ and so I decided to sell it,” he added. “And now it’s a big mess.
Collector Sues Gagosian Gallery for Selling Him a Painting Partially Owned by Met (Arts Beat/New York Times)