2011 was a bad year for the Schulhof family when it comes to art. Earlier this Spring it was revealed that 6 paintings had been stolen from the family art collection by a house painter working on site for a period of time in 2011. Now, Michael Schulhof has filed a law suit against the curator, Lisa Jacobs, who handled the Schulhof Collection then and carried out a sale for Hannelore Schulhof that her son now says was for more than Jacobs reported.
Though the complaint makes it clear that the sale was structured as a two-part transaction between Schulhof and Jacobs first and then between Jacobs and the ultimate buyer. The complaint doesn’t give any indication why Schulhof believes the second sale was from $1m more than the first.
The suit says that in October, 2011, the then 90-year-old Schulhof told Jacobs she needed to raise $6 million.
Jacobs, the suits says, suggested she sell just one of her paintings to raise most of the staggering sum – Basquiat’s “Future Science Versus the Man.” Jacobs told Schulhof she thought she could get $4.5 million for the painting, but the canny collector told her she thought it was worth more than that, the suit says.
They signed an agreement that Jacobs wouldn’t sell the painting for less than $6 million without Schulhof’s permission, and that Jacobs would be paid $50,000 for help finding a buyer.
A month later, Jacobs told Schulhof the best offer she could land for the painting was $5.5 million from a buyer who was demanding total anonymity and wanted to use Jacobs as a middleman, the suit says.
Schulhof agreed to sell the painting, and pocketed $5.45 million – the agreed upon price minus Jacobs’ $50,000 fee.
It wasn’t until later that Schulhof discovered she was the victim of a “fraud” — and that Jacobs had sold the painting for $6.5 million, the suit says.
The suit seeks payment of the $1 million, plus $2 million in punitive damages, and repayment of the $50,000 fee.
Art advisor accused of scamming elderly client (NY Daily News)