Victims Named in Abstract Expressionist Art Scam

  • November 24, 2013 21:48

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Glafira Rosales

Documents filed in federal court have revealed the identities of buyers involved with the Knoedler Gallery art forgery scandal. Prominent collectors, two museums and various dealers are named in a list provided to the court by Knoedler. Several of the potential victims in the case are suing the now-defunct gallery and its former director, Ann Freedman.

The source of the artworks, Long Island-based dealer Glafira Rosales, pleaded guilty in September to money laundering and tax evasion, and to conspirancy to sell the forgeries. Knoedler & Co. and Julian Weissman Fine Art paid about $33.2 million for the fake art and then sold them to clients as works by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell and others for a total of $80 million.

Rosales faces a total maximum term of imprisonment of 99 years. She also agreed to forfeit $33,200,000, including her home in Sands Point, New York, and to pay restitution in an amount not to exceed $81 million. Her sentencing will follow.

The list of buyers (an asterisk indicates a lawsuit against Knoedler):

Murray and Kay Bring, bought a Diebenkorn, Untitled, 1972, for $94,000 on 9 December 1997. Knoedler paid Rosales $60,000 for the work.

Michel Cohen acquire a Sam Francis, Untitled, 1957. Knoedler bought the work for $5,000 in 1999: “(net to owner reduced form [sic] $95,000 to $5,000) 1999 – Trade + $35,000 to Michel Cohen in settlement/exchange for a return of a work by Richard Diebenkorn.”

*Domenico and Eleanore De Sole, from New York, bought a Rothko, Untitled, 1956, for $8.3m through James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, in December 2004. Knoedler paid Rosales $950,000.

Larry Evans bought a Diebenkorn, Untitled (Ocean Park), 1972, for $82,500 on 9 November 1994. Knoedler paid Rosales $47,500.

Jaime Frankfurt bought a Franz Kline, Untitled, 1956, “for a client” for $3.375m on 10 July 2008. Koedler paid Rosales $1.25m for the work “owned jointly by she [sic] and her brother-in-law, although originally from same collection as the other pictures”.

Ann and Robert Freedman bought a Motherwell, Spanish Elegy, 1953, for $15,000 in August 2000. It went “out on approval” in August 2009 to Jaime Frankfurt “for offer to John D. Howard”. They also bought a Pollock, Untitled, 1949, “directly” for $280,000 in September 2000. The couple also acquired a Rothko, Untitled, 1959. According to the gallery’s list this was “consigned… net to owner $160,000. Purchased 12/1996… for $225,000. Sold 04/1997 to Ann and Robert Freedman (trade)”.

Bea and Phil Gersh, from Beverly Hills, bought a Rothko, Untitled, 1959, for $360,000 in October 1997. Knoedler paid Rosales $150,000.

Richard Gilson bought a Diebenkorn, Untitled, 1972, “for John Hannon” for $148,000 on 17 February 1998. Knoedler paid Rosales $54,000.

*Michael Hilti, from Liechtenstein, bought a Rothko, Untitled, 1956, for $5.5m in November 2002. Knoedler paid Rosales $775,000.

*John D. Howard, from New York, bought a De Kooning, Untitled, around 1956-57, for $3.5m on 19 June 2007. Knoedler paid Rosales $750,000.

Mr and Mrs David Howe, from New York, bought a Motherwell, Spanish Elegy, 1953, for $350,000 in March 2000. Knoedler paid Rosales $90,000.

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri bought a Franz Kline, Untitled, around 1957, for $475,000 in August 1999. Knoedler paid Rosales $250,000.

Crosby Kemper, Kemper Museum of Art, bought a Diebenkorn, Untitled (Ocean Park), 1972, for $110,000 on 3 July 1997. Knoedler paid Rosales $30,000.

Dr Bernard Kruger, bought a Diebenkorn, Untitled (Ocean Park), 1976, for $95,000 on 1 February 1994. Knoedler paid Rosales $50,000.

*Pierre Lagrange bought a Pollock, Untitled, 1950, for $15.3m in November 2007 through Jamie Frankfurt. Knoedler paid Rosales $950,000.

Jack and Fran Levy, from Palm Beach, bought a Rothko, Untitled, 1959, for $615,000 in October 1999. Knoedler paid Rosales $155,000.

Jack and Fran Levy, from New York, bought two Clyfford Still works, Untitled, 1947, for $600,000 in March 1998 (Knoedler paid Rosales $250,000) and Untitled, 1947, for $500,000 in December 2000 (Knoedler paid Rosales $300,000).

Mr and Mrs Jack Levy, from New York, bought a Franz Kline, Untitled, around 1953, for $560,000 in January 1999. Knoedler paid Rosales $315,000. They also bought a Pollock, Untitled, 1949, for $2m in December 2001. Knoedler paid Rosales $750,000. Three years later, this last work was “purchased back from Mr and Mrs Jack Levy. Then… jointly owned as of 12/2003 by David Mirvish (his share $1,250,000), Knoedler (share is $375,000), Ann Freedman (share is $375,000)”. The asking price was $15m, but the work was listed as “not yet sold” by the gallery.

Manny Silverman Gallery in Los Angeles, bought a Clyfford Still, Untitled, 1947, for $850,000 in June 2000. Knoedler paid Rosales $250,000.

Masterson Gurr Johns Inc in Switzerland, bought a Rothko, Untitled (Orange, Red and Blue), 1959, for $7.2m through the agent Urs Kraft on 30 April 2008. Knoedler paid Rosales $4.6m for the work “owned jointly by she [sic] and her brother-in-law, although originally from same collection as the other pictures”.

Hughes and Sheila Potiker, from La Jolla, California, bought a Franz Kline, Untitled, not dated, for $535,000 in June 1997. Knoedler paid Rosales $300,000.

Michelle Rosenfeld of Michelle Rosenfeld Gallery, in Ramsey, New Jersey, bought a Rothko, Untitled, 1959, for $325,000 in July 1998. Knoedler paid Rosales $155,000.

Mr and Mrs Jon Sandelman, from Boca Raton, bought a Franz Kline, Untitled, 1955, for $900,000 in March 2000. Knoedler paid Rosales $375,000.

Donna Schwartz bought a Warhol, Untitled, 1964, for $30,000 in 1999. Knoedler paid Rosales $20,000.

Elizabeth Schwartz bought a Sam Francis, Untitled, 1957, for $148,500 in 2004. Knoedler paid Rosales $55,000.

Jay Shidler, from Honolulu, bought a Lee Krasner, Untitled, 1949, for $1m in February 2007. Knoedler paid Rosales $80,000.

Jay H. Shidler II, from New York, bought a Motherwell, Spanish Elegy, 1953, for $2.2m in March 2006. Knoedler paid Rosales $475,000.

Gerald Solomon, of Solomon & Company Fine Art, New York, bought a Rothko, Untitled, 1959, for $320,000 in June 1998. Knoedler paid Rosales $170,000.

*Nicholas and Jenny Taubman, from Roanoke, Virginia, bought a Clyfford Still, Untitled, 1949, for $5m in November 2005. Knoedler paid Rosales $600,000.

*Harvey and Frances White, from Cardiff by the Sea, California, bought a Pollock, Untitled, 1949, for $3.1m in April 2000. Knoedler paid Rosales $670,000.

Jack Wright, of Wright Gallery, bought a Sam Francis, Untitled, 1957, for $150,000 in 1999. Knoedler paid Rosales $95,000.

The “Nordrhein-Westfalen Museum” was offered a Barnett Newman, Untitled, 1949, through Oliver Wick, for $18m, but the work was “not yet sold”. Knoedler paid Rosales $1m.

Tags: American art

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