Canadian theater owner and art collector David Mirvish has brought up a new lawsuit against New York's disgraced Knoedler Gallery. But his claim takes a completely opposite stance to the other suits.
Since closing its doors in late 2011, Knoedler & Co. has been sued five times by clients who claim the once lauded gallery sold them fakes procured from a dubious Long Island art dealer named Glafira Rosales. She is under investigation by the F.B.I.
Mirvish, from Toronto, filed his suit in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Friday.
Unlike the other claims against the gallery, Mirvish contends that the modernist works linked to Rosales are masterpieces and that he was meant to profit from them through sales at the gallery.
Between 2002 and 2007 Mirvish purchased stakes in two paintings attributed to Jackson Pollock from Knoedler and bought a half stake, for $1.6 million, in a third, known as “Silver Pollock,” for the purpose of reselling them at a profit.
“Silver Pollock” sold for $17 million to London hedge fund manager Pierre Lagrange who was the first collector to sue Knoedler in 2011. He has settled his suit, but the terms are unknown.
Knoedler; its owner, Michael Hammer; its former president, Ann Freedman; Rosales; and salespeople at the gallery have been sued by clients who claim that they conspired to commit fraud.
Mirvish says the gallery breached their agreement to market and sell the Pollocks when it went out of business. He wants Knoedler to hand over works called “Greenish Pollock” and “Square Pollock” — in which he paid for a half stake totaling $3.25 million — and reimburse him for his $1.6 million stake in “Silver Pollock.”