Saturday, February 27, 2016

Library of Congress acquires courtroom drawing collection: The Thomas Girardi Collection

Library of Congress acquires courtroom drawing collection from The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art. 

The Thomas Girardi Collection.

Links to news stories below:

NY Times: Library of Congress Acquires Drawings of Courtroom Drama 

by Alexandra Stevenson

Bernard L. Madoff is handcuffed as he turns away from the victims of hisPonzi scheme, who applaud his arrest. Charles Manson lunges toward a judge with a pencil in his hand, agitated at being denied the chance to cross-examine a detective. Larry Flynt of Hustler magazine sits in a gold-plated wheelchair looking on from a distance as the Supreme Court debates the boundaries of the First Amendment.
These illustrations are part of 96 courtroom drawings that the Library of Congress has acquired as part of the Thomas V. Girardi collection, named after the prominent Los Angeles lawyer best known for leading a personal injury lawsuit made famous by the film about the consumer activist Erin Brockovich.

Bernard Madoff going to prison by Elizabeth Williams

The three illustrators featured in the collection — Aggie Kenny, Bill Robles and Elizabeth Williams — have chronicled famous trials over the last half-century, including the Wall Street trials of the “junk-bond king” Michael R. Milken, the entrepreneur Martha Stewart and Ivan F. Boesky, convicted of masterminding what was then the biggest insider-trading scandal in the 1980s. The newly acquired collection also includes politically sensitive trials, including those of the Iran-contra defendants; the French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn; the World Trade Center bomber, Mohammed A. Salameh; and Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, son-in-law of Osama Bin Ladin.

Larry Flynt at the United States Supreme Court during the landmark 1st amendment argument in the Falwell v Flynt case. Artwork by Aggie Whelan Kenny

Courtroom cameras make witnesses leery

Courtroom cameras make witnesses leery: One thing is constant with witnesses in felony trials — they fear possible retribution, according to Bill Dickenson, Kankakee County first assistant state's attorney.

Friday, February 26, 2016


Domenico De Sole, chairman of Sotheby's board of directors, on the witness stand at the trial in which he accused Knoedler Gallery of selling him a fake Rothko painting for
$8.3 million. (Illustrations: © Elizabeth Williams)

Psst. Want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge? No? Then how about a painting by Mark Rothko? So few come to market. You haven't seen this before because it previously belonged to a Swiss collector who bought it directly from the artist. Now his son wants to sell it but wishes to remain anonymous.

Minus the Brooklyn Bridge, that was roughly the dialogue that roped in some hugely wealthy art collectors who plunked down millions of dollars at the prestigious Knoedler Gallery to buy paintings by Rothko, Richard Diebenkorn, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Clyfford Still and Barnett Newman - all of them fakes.

In a trial that started on Jan. 25, 2016 and ended on Feb. 10, Domenico and Eleanore de Sole, two of the defrauded collectors, sued the Knoedler Gallery, its former director, Ann Freedman, and the gallery's holding company, 8-31 Holdings, for $25 million. In 2004, they had bought a bogus Rothko for $8.3 million and wanted their money back, plus damages.

The trial took place in Manhattan's United States District Court, 40 Centre St., in front of Judge Paul G. Gardephe and a 10-person jury.

In the absence of cameras, courtroom artists Elizabeth Williams and Victor Juhasz recorded the proceedings. Their drawings are now on exhibit and for sale at the World Trade Gallery, 120 Broadway, through Feb. 27.

"This was the largest art fraud trial of all time," said Williams. "It rocked the art world."

Knoedler took in roughly $70 million for fraudulent sales that started in 1994, Williams explained. A woman named Glafira Rosales appeared at Knoedler with a cache of Abstract Expressionist paintings that she sold to the gallery for a fraction of what they would normally cost. The first batch were a couple of Diebenkorns.

In February 1994, gallery director Freedman asked John Elderfield, chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, and Diebenkorn's widow and daughter to look at the paintings. All of them expressed doubts to Freedman about their authenticity.

But that didn't stop Freedman from selling the Diebenkorns and the other paintings that Rosales brought to her. She assembled lists of people who had supposedly authenticated the paintings. During the trial, many of them testified that they had never authenticated anything or consented to have their names used.

"The crux of the trial was whether or not Ann Freedman knew the art was fake," said Williams.

Judge Gardephe believes that she knew. An article in The New York Times (Jan. 24, 2016) quoted him as saying that there was "ample circumstantial evidence demonstrating that Freedman acted with fraudulent intent and understood that the Rosales paintings were not authentic."

In fact, the paintings were created by Pei Shen Qian, a Chinese immigrant living in Flushing, Queens. Williams said that he was working as a street artist in SoHo when Rosales met him.

Qian was indicted on charges of conspiracy, fraud and making false statements and has fled to China. He has said that he didn't know that his work was being sold as authentic. He was paid a few hundred dollars to as much as $9,000 for work that Knoedler subsequently sold for millions.

Freedman has been sued but not indicted. Rosales pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion and money 
Ann Freedman, former director of the Knoedler Gallery.
laundering charges in 2013 but has yet to be sentenced. Her former boyfriend and co-conspirator, José Carlos Bergantinos Diaz, and his brother Jésus Angel Bergantinos Diaz, have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering and are awaiting extradition from Spain.

The party came to an end in 2011. During a divorce settlement, Pierre La Grange, a London hedge fund executive, needed to sell the Jackson Pollock painting that he had bought from Knoedler. He took it to Christie's and Sotheby's to have it appraised and learned that it was fake. It used pigments that weren't commercially available until 14 years after Pollock's death.

Knoedler, founded in 1846, was the oldest art gallery in New York City. When La Grange sued Knoedler in November 2011, it shut down the next day.

That's what tipped off Domenico and Eleanore de Sole that their Rothko might also be a fake.

To date, the scandal has led to 10 lawsuits. Five were settled out of court. The de Soles' suit was the first to go to trial. The four others that are pending are not likely to be heard for at least a year.

When the de Soles had their Rothko painting displayed in their South Carolina home, they had it encased in expensive glass and protected by an alarm system. On Jan. 27, when the "Rothko" appeared in the courtroom, it was handled "much in the way that one might deal with an empty pizza box," according to an account in Art News (Feb. 1, 2016).

Domenico de Sole said that the painting was "worthless."

The de Soles' lawsuit was settled right before Michael Armand Hammer, grandson of industrialist Armand Hammer, founder of the Knoedler Gallery, was supposed to take the witness stand.

The de Soles said they were happy with the settlement.

Liz Williams said that she enjoyed being back in Courtroom 318 at the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, which is where the trial was held. "It's one of three ceremonial courtrooms in that courthouse," she explained. "They have marble walls and wood. That's where the big trials take place."

She recalled having been in that courtroom in 1986 when she sketched Donald Trump, who was testifying on behalf of the U.S. Football League against the National Football League.

Her drawing of Trump on the witness stand is among the works now for sale at the World Trade Gallery. The drawings range in price from $1,200 to $3,800. All of them are authentic.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer
The World Trade Gallery is at 120 Broadway (entrance on Cedar Street). It is open daily. For more information, click here.

Lawyers and the press with the "Rothko" painting after the de Soles' trial was settled.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

VimpelCom to pay $795 mln to resolve U.S., Dutch bribery probes: Reuters

VimpelCom to pay $795 mln to resolve U.S., Dutch bribery probes

By Nate Raymond and Anthony Deutsch

VimpelCom Ltd, an Amsterdam-based telecommunications operator, said on Thursday it would pay $795 million to resolve U.S. and Dutch probes into a bribery scheme in Uzbekistan, in the second largest global anti-corruption settlement in history.
The settlement was announced in a federal court in Manhattan, where a subsidiary pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate a U.S. anti-corruption law by paying $114 million in bribes from 2006 to 2012 to a Uzbekistan official.

The official, described in court papers as high-ranking and a relative of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, matched the description of his daughter, Gulnara Karimova, who has long been identified as being at the center of the probe.

     Justice Department lawyer Nicola Mrazek told the court that investigations into individuals affiliated with the case remain ongoing. 
   Mark Rochon attorney for  VimpelCom and its Uzbek subsidiary Unitel LLC came to court for the first guilty pleas of what prosecutors call a "coordinated global resolution." Seated next to Mr Rochon, General Counsel  Scott Dresser  who pleaded guilty on behalf of the company.

DOJ  Trial Attorney Ephraim Wernick makes statement to Judge Ramos outlining the case. 

VimpelCom's settlement, which called for the retention of a compliance monitor, resolved probes by the Justice Department, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Public Prosecution Service of the Netherlands.
It marked a near record for a global anti-corruption accord, behind only Siemens AG's $1.3 billion settlement in 2008 that resolved wide-ranging bribery probes in the United States and Germany.
    In accepting the resolution, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos remarked that the scale of the FCPA conspiracy was literally "off the charts" in terms of the federal sentencing guidelines.

VimpelCom, whose biggest shareholders are Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman's LetterOne and Norway's Telenor, took a $900 million provision in November to resolve the investigations.
Under the deal, VimpleCom entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in which U.S. criminal charges will be dropped in three years if it follows the agreement's terms.
Uzbek subsidiary Unitel LLC pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

"The company deeply regrets its actions here, and we will make sure it never happens again," Scott Dresser, VimpelCom's general counsel, said in court.
U.S. and Dutch authorities said the investigation continued into other companies and individuals involved in the scheme, including one man Dutch prosecutors said was arrested in November.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

World Trade Gallery show of the courtroom illustrations of the Knoedler trial.

World Trade Gallery 
show of the courtroom illustrations of the Knoedler trial.
February 23-27th. 
120 Broadway, Cedar Street Entrance
New York, NY

Domenico De Sole pointing to the fake Rothko
Ann Freedman and defense team
Glafira Rosales ( who sold Knoedler the fake artwork) and her defense team
Christopher Rothko at trial 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

NY TIMES: Antonin Scalia, Justice on the Supreme Court, Dies at 79

Antonin Scalia, Justice on the Supreme Court, Dies at 79
Justice Antonin Scalia, whose transformative legal theories, vivid writing and outsize personality made him a leader of a conservative intellectual renaissance in his three decades on the Supreme Court, was found dead on Saturday at a resort in West Texas. He was 79.
“He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in a statement confirming Justice Scalia’s death. “His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served.”
The cause of death was not immediately released. A spokeswoman for the United States Marshals Service, which sent personnel to the scene, said there was nothing to indicate the death was the result of anything other than natural causes.
Justice Scalia began his service on the court as an outsider known for caustic dissents that alienated even potential allies. But his theories, initially viewed as idiosyncratic, gradually took hold, and not only on the right and not only in the courts.

Justice Scalia last month during the Bank Markazi argument. Counsel of Record Jeffrey Lamken at the podium

Justice Scalia far right, in the 1980's soon after he was elevated to the Supreme Court
Article about the deep and rather unique friendship between Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia
Ginsberg on Scalia: "I disagreed with most of what he said, but I loved the way he said it."
For example, one of their most recent disagreements on the bench was on the topic of same-sex marriage. While Ginsburg voted in favor in last year's landmark Supreme Court decision to strike down gay marriage bans throughout the country and has personally officiated multiple same-sex marriages, Scalia wrote a scathing dissent, which has taken on a certain infamy in its seething anger. Despite these different views, Scalia and Ginsburg had a deep mutual respect for each other. Unsurprisingly, Ginsburg was often questioned about how she could maintain this highly reverential friendship, and her simple response explains the camaraderie perfectly. At a George Washington University event in 2015 when both shared the stage, she said: "I disagreed with most of what he said, but I loved the way he said it."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

NY Times: Knoedler Gallery and Collectors Settle Case Over Fake Rothko

NY Times:

Knoedler Gallery and Collectors Settle Case Over Fake Rothko

A lawsuit against Knoedler & Co., a once celebrated New York art gallery that was accused of selling a fake Rothko painting to a pair of collectors for $8.3 million, ended in a settlement on Wednesday, just as the gallery’s former owner and its president were preparing to testify in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
Although the terms of the agreement were not disclosed, it resolved all claims by the collectors, Domenico and Eleanore De Sole, who had requested $25 million in damages, saying the defunct gallery and its former president, Ann Freedman, had participated in a “racketeering scheme” to sell more than 30 forged works said to be by Abstract Expressionist masters like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning

Attorneys announced to the press the settlement in the courtroom.
The judge and the jury did not appear in court today.
The fake Rothko (stored behind the screen during the trial) was removed from the courtroom,
now that the case is over. 
“I think our clients are extremely satisfied by this settlement,” Gregory Clarick, a lawyer for the De Soles, said on Wednesday morning, after emerging from a conference with other lawyers and the judge. “And they are also satisfied to get the truth out and tell their story.”
Charles Schmerler, a lawyer for Knoedler, called the settlement “fair, reasonable and good” and added: “We’re pleased to see that the parties were able to do this on the heels of the settlement with Ms. Freedman.”

Collectors said Ms. Freedman should have also questioned the paintings because, among other reasons, Ms. Rosales was providing them at bargain rates, selling the fake Rothko, for instance, for $950,000. Knoedler sold the Rosales works for far more. An accounting expert appearing on behalf of the De Soles testified that the gallery had sold the forgeries for a total of about $70 million, yielding a net income of $32.7 million for Knoedler and bringing Ms. Freedman more than $10 million in commissions, in addition to her salary.

 Forensic accountant Roger Siefert testifying

Expert, Roger Siefert, testified that removing the income from those sales and omitting income from the eventual sale of Knoedler’s Upper East Side townhouse meant the gallery would have suffered a net loss between 1994, when the sales of the fakes began and 2011, when it closed.
Lawyers for the defense suggested that if the gallery had not been selling the fake Rosales paintings it would have sold other works and made up any deficits.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

KNOEDLER TRIAL:Knoedler Gallery Fraud Trial Abruptly Suspended—Settlement Seems Likely

Knoedler Gallery Fraud Trial Abruptly Suspended—Settlement Seems Likely

Hammer then sold the car, she testified, and the holding company paid the taxes on his income from the sale.
She also testified that Hammer had charged as much as $1.2 million on a company American Express card between 2001 and 2012. She testified that the expenses included a trip to Paris for his wife, Dru Ann Hammer.
Ruth Blankschen on stand questioned by Aaron Crowell, the De Soles in the foreground

Blankschen said that she had paid Rosales up to $9,000 in cash in an envelope for each of the paintings she brought to the gallery, which is significant because the IRS requires reporting of cash transactions over $10,000.
"I don't think I'd do it that way today," Blankschen said on the stand.

Michael Hammer seated at defense table prior to the judge excusing the jury.
Hammer did not take the witness stand. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

ART NET National Gallery of Art's Rothko Expert Questioned About Dubious Knoedler Sale

National Gallery of Art's Rothko Expert Questioned About Dubious Knoedler Sale
The morning was consumed almost entirely by presentation of videotaped deposition of art expert and paid Knoedler consultant E.A. Carmean Jr. Portions of Carmean's testimony, which focused heavily on the purported connection between David Herbert and the mysterious buyer known as Mister X, who originally bought all these works directly from the artists, were presented first by the plaintiffs and then by the defense, though major portions of what was presented overlapped.
EA Carmean video deposition on screen, De Soles in foreground
At one point Carmean was questioned as to whether he had "ever given any consideration to the possibility that the information was false."
Carmean responsed that he was "not sure," adding, "If a painting looks like the real McCoy so to speak, you ask 'How did this object come to get here?'"
EA Carmean on screen with fake Rothko stored behind the screen 

Questioned about what he meant by the term "the real McCoy," Carmean employed several music-related analogies, telling the attorney if he was to play five records—of which four were an Elvis impersonator and one was Elvis himself—"you'd probably be able to pick out Elvis." He also employed the hypothetical scenario of encountering a relative at an airport, specifically his own mother-in-law, saying, "it's just that there is a familiarity to an overall presence."
Carmean did concede at one point that the inclusion of Herbert's name on the provenance of so many works "should have always been said with a question mark."

Laila Nasr of the National Gallery on the stand questioned by Emily Reisbaum
The afternoon session kicked off with testimony from Rothko expert and National Gallery of Art curator Laila Nasr, who has worked on both the Rothko paintings catalogue raisonné as well as on the Rothko works on paper catalogue raisonné , the latter of which is still in progress. Nasr corresponded with Freedman over one of the fake Rothkos and subsequently included it in a show.
She was first questioned by the De Soles' attorney Emily Reisbaum, who repeatedly introduced correspondence between Nasr and Freedman, asking whether the form of the letters or information contained therein was unusual. Amid several objections from the defense—some of which the judge sustained—Reisbaum persisted in asking questions about language contained in letters such as that noting a Rothko work "that made its first public debut at Knoedler and Company at last winter's art fair in New York."

Sunday, February 7, 2016

NY TIMES: Knoedler Gallery Director Settles Lawsuit Over Fake Rothko

FEB. 7, 2016

Ann Freedman, long a leading New York gallerist, and a couple who accused her in a federal lawsuit of fraudulently selling them a fake Rothko painting for $8.3 million settled their lawsuit on Sunday.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but the agreement was confirmed by lawyers for Ms. Freedman and for the collectors, Domenico and Eleanore De Sole.

The De Soles, who filed their case in 2012, had been seeking $25 million from Ms. Freedman and Knoedler & Co., the gallery where she had served as president and which closed in 2011, just ahead of several similar lawsuits from unsuspecting collectors who had bought fakes.

The case against Ms. Freedman, whose testimony had long been anticipated, is expected to be dismissed in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Monday, said Luke Nikas, a lawyer for Ms. Freedman. But the case against Knoedler, now entering its third week, would continue.
Forensic accountant Roger Siefert gave testimony on the profits Knoedler received from the sales of the Rosales Collection. 
The settlement follows damaging testimony about how much Knoedler and Ms. Freedman earned from the sale of more than 30 fakes that were said to be by Abstract Expressionist masters but were actually painted by an all but unknown Chinese artist in the garage of his Queens home.
James Martin, a forensic conservator, explained to the jury how he tested the painting and found it to be a fake.

Ms. Freedman and the gallery have said they, too, were fooled by the paintings, which were all provided by Glafira Rosales, a Long Island art dealer, who has pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with the case.
Among the mysteries of the case has been how readily the art market embraced works that had no documented provenance. At least two of the Rosales works ended up hanging in a major museum before their inauthenticity was discovered.
Lawyers for the De Soles elicited testimony from a series of art experts who said that they had never authenticated the Rosales works that Ms. Freedman appeared to present them as endorsing.

Art expert David Anfam questioned by Gregory Clarick.

One, David Anfam, volunteered to send a “a not long, yet highly persuasive email” to a museum in Buffalo after Ms. Freedman wrote to him about the possibility of that institution acquiring a Barnett Newman painting that turned out to be among the fakes.
Still, Mr. Anfam and Christopher Rothko, the artist’s son, testified that they had never given Ms. Freedman permission to include their names on a list of “individuals with special expertise on the work of Mark Rothko” who had viewed the painting that the De Soles bought.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Murray Tinkelman 1933-2016

Murray Tinkelman by Joe Bowler
Murray Tinkelman, an award-winning artist who has won gold medals from the Society of Illustrators, The New York Art Directors Club and the Society of Publications Designers passed away January 30th. His funeral scheduled for February 2nd at the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel.
His illustrations appeared in a variety of publications such as Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Tinkelman has been commissioned by The National Park Service to do drawings and paintings of National Parks and Monuments and by The U.S. Air Force to be an artist-reporter on specific missions. He had a one-man exhibit of his baseball art at The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York in 1994 and The United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama in 1995. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Delaware Art Museum, the International Photography Hall of Fame & Museum, and the New Britain Museum of American Art.

Tinkelman was a guest curator for The Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the Society of Illustrators, Museum of American Illustration in New York City.
Tinkelman was named the recipient of the 1999 Distinguished Educator in the Arts award from the Society of Illustrators in New York. He  received the 1995 Sports Artist of the Year from The United States Sports Academy, the 1970 Artist of the Year award from The Graphic Arts Guild in New York City, and the 2001 Syracuse University Faculty Service Citation.
He was Professor Emeritus from Syracuse University where he taught in the undergraduate program and was the senior advisor in the Independent Study MA Program in Illustration for over 25 years from 1979 - 2006.
Murray was the Director of the Limited Residency MFA program at theHartford Art School, University of Hartford. This program is completely dedicated to the field of Illustration.


Knoedler trial 1st week wrap up: Artwork by Victor Juhasz

Ann Freedman with the fake Rothko in court

Ann Freedman and the DeSoles

Christopher Rothko

Monday, February 1, 2016

KNOEDLER TRIAL: Eleanore De Sole and David Anfam take the stand

From ArtNet News

David Anfam, for his part, showed indignation on the stand when describing what seemed to be Freedman's efforts to exploit his expertise without his permission.
A foremost expert on the artist, Anfam authored a catalogue raisonné of Rothko's paintings in 1998. Gallery documents showed that Anfam had endorsed the work as genuine; he testified that he had never even seen it in person.
Art expert David Anfam questioned by plaintiff attorney Gregory Clarick

As per a document discussed in court, the gallery allegedly told buyers that the Rothko sold to the De Sole's was to appear in a subsequent catalogue to be authored by Anfam, and that another work, which was sold to Michelle Rosenfeld Gallery for $325,000, was slated for inclusion in an Anfam catalogue of works on paper.
“It's outrageous," Anfam said, pointing out that no such catalogues were ever in the works
Ann Freedman seated in court at the defense table.

Anfam further pointed out that had he known the whole backstory of the works Freedman was offering, he would have doubted their authenticity. Had he known that Rosales was supposedly selling as many as thirty Abstract Expressionist paintings, he said, “it would have rung alarm bells."
 Eleanore De Sole on the stand; completed her testimony today. She referred to an 8M appraisal of the fake Rothko that Ann Freedman had given her.