Tuesday, January 26, 2016

WSJ: Forgery-Trial Witness: Paintings ‘Had No Soul’

Forgery-Trial Witness: Paintings ‘Had No Soul’

Two art-world experts said the pictures they saw at Knoedler gallery were phony

The Wall Street Journal
By THOMAS MACMILLAN

Opening statements by Luke Nikas who represents Ann Freedman.
He stated “Ann believed this was one of the most important discoveries in art history"
 Art dealer Ann Freedman was no scheming fraudster, knowingly selling forged abstract masterpieces; she fell victim to a clever con that fooled her and the rest of the art world, her lawyer told a federal jury Tuesday.
Defense attorney Luke Nikas made those statements in Manhattan federal court, where Ms. Freedman faces a civil suit brought by two wealthy art collectors who purchased a fake Rothko painting from her former gallery, the now-defunct Knoedler & Co., in 2004.
In opening defense statements Tuesday, attorneys for Ms. Freedman and Knoedler argued that their clients believed the artworks wre genuine, and were victims of Glafira Rosales,the Long Island art dealer who has pleaded guilty to selling forgeries to Knoedler.
Between 1994 and 2008, Ms. Rosales brought dozens of paintings to Ms. Freedman, said Mr. Nikas. “Ann believed this was one of the most important discoveries in art history,” he said.
Mr. Nikas recounted a list of experts who vouched for the paintings, and projected excerpts from their correspondence with Ms. Freedman on a large screen in the courtroom. “She believed what the experts told her,” he said.
Charles Schmermer who represents 831 holdings give opening statements

John Elderfield testifying about seeing the a Diebenkorn at the Knoedler gallery in 1994 and telling Ann Freedman it was dubious. John Elderfield was Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, from 2003 to 2008 and is an expert in the work of Richard Diebenkorn. Ann Freedman is seated far left. 

 Two art-world experts—John Elderfield, a former top curator at the Museum of Modern Art, and Gretchen Diebenkorn Grant, daughter of the late painter Richard Diebenkorn—testified Tuesday that they weren’t fooled by the phony Diebenkorn paintings they saw at Knoedler in 1994.“They had no soul. They didn’t breathe,” said Ms. Diebenkorn Grant.
Both witnesses said they brought their concerns to Ms. Freedman.
Gretchen Diebenkorn Grant testifying about the Diebenkorn that John Elderfield questioned.
She stated the painting "had no soul"



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