Patricia Cohen reports on a new lawsuit stemming from the Glafira Rosales forgeries which lists the usual suspects:
But it also places some of the blame on a Rothko expert who the gallery commissioned to help sell the painting. The suit accuses Oliver Wick, currently a curator at the Swiss museum Kunsthaus Zurich, of having knowingly participated in the fraud “either intentionally or with willful blindness or reckless disregard for the truth.”
Because Mr. Fertitta’s painting was sold through a number of intermediaries, he only recently discovered its provenance and minimal value, the suit says.
According to the suit, Mr. Wick offered the painting on behalf of Knoedler to Eykyn Maclean, a private New York gallery that was acting for Mr. Fertitta, the chief executive of Stations Casinos in Las Vegas and a co-owner of Ultimate Fighting Championship.
At the time of the 2008 sale, Mr. Wick was a curator at the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, Switzerland, which had displayed the Rosales Rothko as part of a larger exhibition.
Mr. Wick, who was paid a $300,000 consulting fee by Knoedler, according to court documents, sent an email to the Eykyn Maclean gallery prior to the sale that stated: “I confirm that this work has been submitted to the team, all is perfectly fine, otherwise I would not want to be involved with it.” Mr. Wick could not be immediately reached for comment.
The Eykyn Maclean gallery is listed as a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Mr. Fertitta subsequently sold the painting to another buyer, but recently repurchased it for $8.5 million after learning it was a fake, the lawsuit says.