Art collector Michael Chutko of Morristown, N.J., wants to sell works by Pop artist Marjorie Strider at a Chelsea gallery this month. But the sales of Strider's art, valued at $6 million, are on hold after the artist's estate alleged that Chutko does not own the artworks.
Chutko maintains he purchased the works directly from the artist. Marjorie Strider is known for her three-dimensional images of women that satirized men's magazines.
Strider died last August at age 83. Chutko planned to sell the paintings at Broadway 1602 Gallery in Chelsea, but the artist's estate sent a letter to the gallery that asks for Strider's works to be stored until a court decision is made.
“It is our contention that they came into his possession through fraud and illegality,” writes Oded Ben-Ami, the lawyer for the estate represented by executor Martin Melzer.
“As the accountant and close friend to Marjorie Strider, Mr. Melzer was definitely aware that she legitimately sold her art work to (Chutko). In fact, Mr. Melzer himself sold some of her paintings to (Chutko),” Chutko said in an affidavit.