The New York Times is attending the hearing on Pierre Lagrange’s claim against Knoedler and Ann Freedman that the gallery sold him a fake Pollock for $17m. The same painting was offered to David Geffen, Joan Tisch and Si Newhouse. Newhouse received an expert opinion that the work was not genuine.
Ms. Freedman says she asked the consignor, Glafira Rosales, repeatedly where the paintings came from and was only told they were bought directly from the artists:
From the stand, Ms. Freedman said, “I have every reason to believe these works are authentic.” She said she showed them to more than a dozen respected scholars, and none raised questions about authenticity. She dismissed the forensic report, which found two paints on the canvas that were not invented until after Pollock’s death in 1956, saying it was common for manufacturers to give artists experimental pigments to use before they were generally available.
About a decade ago the gallery sold one of the paintings, “Untitled 1949,” to Jack Levy, co-chairman of mergers and acquisitions at Goldman Sachs, for $2 million. Mr. Levy then submitted his painting to the nonprofit International Foundation for Art Research for authentication, but the foundation declined in 2003 to certify it, citing questions about provenance and style. When Mr. Levy demanded his money back, the gallery, then presided over by Ms. Freedman, complied.
That painting was bought back in partnership with David Mirvish, a Toronto theater producer, who believes it to be authentic.
The Times report confirms that Knoedler closed the day after it received the forensics report on the Lagrange Pollock.
Hearings Shed Light on Pollock Dispute (New York Times)