A gallery from Luxembourg made a bad deal paying $9.6m for 18 Russian paintings to a New York Gallery, ABA, and now claims a vast conspiracy involving a large cast of characters including the daughter of the gallery owner who is a senior specialist at a global auction house, according to the Courthouse News Service. The gallery says four of the paintings were fakes too and wants $2.4m back for the fakes and $4.1m for overpaying :
Arthur Properties claims that Bekkerman schemed with others, including his own daughter, to defraud Arthur’s buying agent, Oleksandr Savchuk, for the “series of paintings purported to be by famous Russian artists.”
None of Bekkerman’s alleged cohorts are named as defendants, nor is Savchuk a party to the lawsuit. The 18 works at issue include an oil by Ivan Aivazovsky, “Seascape with Peter the Great,” for which Arthur says it paid $4 million; Ivan Shishkin‘s oil “In the Woods,” for $1 million; and two oils by Aleksandr Archipenko, “Portrait of Wife” ($300,000) and “Nude Blonde,” ($350,000).
Arthur says the value of the Aivazovsky “was overstated by approximately 80 percent;” the Shishkin was a forgery; and the values of the Archipenkos were overstated by 66 percent. Three other paintings, for which Arthur paid $1.4 million, were also forgeries, Arthur says. According to the complaint: “Commencing in the fall of 2006 and continuing through the first half of 2007, defendant Bekkerman, assisted by other persons, engaged in a multi-pronged and multi-faceted intensive campaign to defraud plaintiff. The goal of the scheme was to persuade Savchuk, who resides in the Ukraine, to purchase from Bekkerman what Bekkerman represented to be valuable artworks located in his gallery in New York – paintings of which several were forgeries and others of substantially lesser value than Bekkerman had represented.
Manhattan Gallery Sued for $6.5m (Courthouse News Service)