The big question surrounding the disputed Modigliani owned by the Nahmad family–everyone knew they owned it–is how some of the shrewdest dealers in art let themselves get into the position of possibly burnng the painting forever.
Patriarch David Nahmad spoke to the Wall Street Journal:
According to recent reports by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, IAC was set up in 1995 by the Nahmad family […] Mr. Nahmad confirmed those details on Wednesday.
He said the entity was set up “for discretion purposes” when making sizable purchases at auction, adding: “Everybody in the art world knows we buy under IAC.”
Mr. Nahmad said the issue wasn’t relevant to the lawsuit over the Modigliani, which he said will turn on whether the plaintiffs can prove in court that Mr. Stettiner owned the painting.
In that case, he said, “I am ready to return it.” […]
In statements issued this week, representatives for IAC and Mr. Nahmad said the offshore entity was used for privacy reasons, a common practice at auction. They said the painting wasn’t hidden and was also shown in Switzerland and at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
They said the plaintiffs had yet to prove Mr. Stettiner had owned the work and that Mondex was trying to use negative publicity to force a settlement, of which it would receive a cut because it had financed the case.