Lawsuit Settled Against Art Historian in Knoedler Case

  • A fake Rothko painting that Sotheby's chairman Domenico De Sole and his wife bought at Knoedler and settled over in another claim against the gallery and its former director Ann Freedman.

    A fake Rothko painting that Sotheby's chairman Domenico De Sole and his wife bought at Knoedler and settled over in another claim against the gallery and its former director Ann Freedman.

One of ten lawsuits filed against now-defunct Knoedler gallery in New York has been settled out of court, first reported The Art Newspaper. Terms of the settlement in Manhattan federal court on April 11 were not disclosed.

The painting in the claim was a fake Mark Rothko, one of 40 known fakes that Long Island art dealer Glafira Rosales brought to Knoedler. The gallery passed some 30 works on to collectors for a combined near-$70 million.

Las Vegas billionaire casino magnate Frank Fertitta settled this latest claim against the Swiss art historian Oliver Wick. Fertitta bought the faux Rothko from Knoedler in 2008 for $7.2 million.

According to the collector’s complaint, Fertitta said he agreed to buy the painting in part because Wick, then a curator at the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, had confirmed that “all is perfectly fine, otherwise I would not want to be involved with it. For this I stand with my name as a Rothko scholar”. Art Newspaper reports that Wick was paid $150,000 by Fertitta and $300,000 by Knoedler for his part in the sale.

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