The lastest story in the saga of the 165-year-old Knoedler gallery, which closed last year after accusations that the gallery was trafficking in multi-million dollar forgeries.
Lawsuits Claim Knoedler Made Huge Profits on Fakes
Published: October 21, 2012
For more than a dozen years the Upper East Side gallery Knoedler & Company was “substantially dependent” on profits it made from selling a mysterious collection of artwork that is at the center of a federal forgery investigation, former clients of this former gallery have charged in court papers.
Glafira Rosales, the little-known dealer at the center at the center of the FBI investigation, has said the bulk of the newly discovered masterworks came from an old family friend, an anonymous collector whom she has steadfastly refused to name. Files at Knoedler about him were labeled “Secret Santa.”
According to Ms. Freedman’s lawyers Ms. Rosales at one point told Ms. Freedman to stop pressing for more information about the unnamed collector, saying, “Don’t kill the goose that’s laying the golden egg.”
Read the whole story here.
The list of possibly forged works sold by Knoedler and its former president, Ann Freedman, grows as the family of the late artist Richard Diebenkorn says that the gallery sold drawings that it had been warned were fakes. As I detail in today’s New York Times:
A few months after the abstract painter Richard Diebenkorn died in 1993 his family visited Knoedler & Company, the gallery on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that had long been his dealer. His wife, Phyllis; his daughter, Gretchen; and an art scholar went to see two gouache drawings that the gallery had recently acquired and that it hoped to sell as works from Diebenkorn’s celebrated Ocean Park series.
The disputed drawing attributed to Diebenkorn
What happened at the meeting nearly two decades ago is now a matter of dispute, one that has only grown in significance as the gallery, once venerable and now closed, battles accusations that it sold many works of modern art that were actually sophisticated forgeries.
The Diebenkorn family says it made it plain that day, before the drawings were sold, that it suspected the drawings were fakes.
“They didn’t look quite right, and we said, ‘The provenance is wacky and the story behind the provenance makes no sense,’ ” said Richard Grant, the artist’s son-in-law and the executive director of the Diebenkorn Foundation.
The gallery and its former president, Ann Freedman, say the family embraced the drawings as legitimate.”