Insurer Refuses to Pay for Lost Degas Sculpture

  • December 03, 2014 13:20

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Detail of an Edgar Degas sculpture, “The Little 14-Year-Old Dancer.”

Lloyd's of London says it won't pay for a $3 million Degas ballerina sculpture that went missing after delivery to a California collector, reports the NYDaily News.

“The claim of the loss of Degas bronze results from theft or dishonesty by a person to whom the insured property was entrusted,” Lloyd’s said in a Manhattan Supreme Court complaint. “Accordingly, the claim falls within exclusion of the policy.”

The 39-inch sculpture was insured for $2 million. A reimbursement for the loss is out of the question, claims Lloyd's because of its

“mysterious disappearance or unexplained loss.”

Walter Maibaum, from the Degas Sculpture Project, submitted an insurance claim on June 9, according to court papers. Another art dealer named Rose Ramey Long paid a deposit to bring the Degas, and other artowrks, to her client.

The shipment of five crates with $11 million worth of art was delivered to supposed art collector Luke Brugnara, a convicted felon, in San Francisco in spring 2014. When art dealer Rose Ramey Long went to Brugnara's home to check on the delivery, she found it empty.

Brugnara told Long, from whom he'd bought a Renoir a decade ago, that the artworks were destined for a museum. However, he refused to pay, say court documents. Two days later the crates vanished.

Four crates were later retrieved with works by Willem de Kooning and Picasso etchings. The fifth crate with Degas' La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans remains missing. Brugnara later said it was a gift from Long, and that is was a later cast.

Convicted in 2010 of tax evasion and trout poaching, Brugnara was arrested in May.

Last June, Degas Sculpture Project and Modernism Fine Arts filed a lawsuit against Long, claiming she is responsible for the missing Degas. Long is now accused of not performing "due diligence" with the delivery of the artworks to her client. Degas Sculpture Project and Modernism Fine Arts seek the $2 million claim from Long.

Read more at NY Daily News

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