Melanie Gerlis reveals a dispute between a Calder collector and Bonhams over a work on paper purchased nearly a decade ago that was eventually refused a catalogue number by the Calder Foundation. The FT’s report does not offer an explanation for why the work was refused by the foundation but now the buyer is caught in a conflict with Bonhams despite the gap between when the work was purchased and when it was denied a catalogue number:
Micky Tiroche, a private dealer in London and co-founder of the Tiroche auction house in Israel, bought “Sun and Stars”, a gouache credited to Alexander Calder, for £28,800 (with fees) at Bonhams, London in 2007. The purchase was made through his art dealing company, Thomas Holdings, which has about 160 works on paper by Calder.
In 2013, the gouache was submitted, along with other works, to the Calder Foundation in New York, which doesn’t officially authenticate the artist’s works but gives them an inventory number (known as an “A-number” because the digits are prefixed with the letter A). “Sun and Stars” was not given an A-number, making it effectively unsellable. Christie’s, Sotheby’s and now Bonhams will not sell Calder works that do not have an A-number.
The Art Market: French and connected (Financial Times)