The New York Times continues to stoke the Knoedler fraud story today by giving a number of prominent art world figures the opportunity to step back farther from the simmering troubles surrounding a group of works sold by the gallery. This time the Diebenkorn estate, John Elderfield and former Knoedler director Lawrence Rubin all claim they were opposed to the sale of two drawings that did not seem right when viewed by Diebenkorn’s heirs:
While the gallery and Ms. Freedman deny the accusations, the art scholar who accompanied the Diebenkorn family that day in 1993 said he could confirm the family’s account. “This was a long time ago, but I can remember standing in the room at Knoedler, particularly Phyllis and I looking at them,” said the scholar, John Elderfield, a former curator at the Museum of Modern Art who still assists the family in reviewing artworks. “We did express doubt.”
The drawings in question were two of five sold by Knoedler as Diebenkorns that came from a man who would not say where he had gotten them, Mr. Grant said. The family also disputes the authenticity of another five drawings that Knoedler sold in the 1990s as part of the Ocean Park series and were said to have come from a second source, a Madrid gallery called Vijande, now shuttered. […]
The records also show, he said, that one of the two drawings the family reviewed was sold, not by Ms. Freedman but by her predecessor at Knoedler, Lawrence Rubin.
Mr. Rubin, who remains close to the Diebenkorns, said in an interview that he does not remember being involved in such a sale, and that he never thought the drawings were authentic. “I told Phyllis Diebenkorn that I thought they were not right,” he said. “ I never believed in those drawings.”
And yet the gallery sold them.
Artist’s Family Says Gallery Ignored Warning of Fakes (New York Times)