Shortly after the 165-year-old Upper East Side gallery Knoedler & Company abruptly shut down on November 30th last year it was sued by a one-time customer who claimed that the gallery had sold him a fake Jackson Pollock painting for $17 million. The resulting authenticity scandal has since grown to implicate not only forged paintings said to have been works by Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman, but also other galleries including London’s Timothy Taylor Gallery, London-New York gallery Haunch of Venison and art adviser Jamie Frankfurt.
Those galleries and Frankfurt have not been named as defendants in the court documents filed by Pierre Lagrange, the purchaser of the purported Pollock painting, but are said to have acted as intermediaries in the sale of alleged forged paintings or displayed forged paintings that were presented as works by Pollock, Newman and Rothko, the Art Newspaper reports. In addition to Lagrange’s lawsuit, the forgery case has led to a federal investigation into the allegations.
London’s Timothy Taylor Gallery and the art dealer Jamie Frankfurt are cited in Lagrange’s lawsuit as intermediaries in the 2007 sale of the disputed Pollock painting, “Untitled 1950,” which both Sotheby’s and Christie’s refused to put on the auction block in 2010 due to concerns over its authenticity. Meanwhile another investigation states that in 2008 Haunch of Venison showed a work said to be by Barnett Newman that came from the same suspect source as Knoedler & Co.’s disputed Pollocks.
While this case continues to unfold, likely implicating more art world power players, best to put off buying those Abstract Expressionist masterworks you’ve been eying for the living room.
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