Art Forgery Trial Asks: Were Dealers Duped, Or Did They Turn A Blind Eye?
Fine Art

Art Forgery Trial Asks: Were Dealers Duped, Or Did They Turn A Blind Eye?

The Knoedler & Company art gallery, shown here in 2010, had been in business since before the Civil War. The gallery permanently closed its doors in 2011. The New York art world was shocked when the city’s oldest gallery abruptly closed its doors more than four years ago. A few days later, news broke that Knoedler & Company was accused of selling paintings it now admits were forgeries for millions of dollars each. The gallery and its former president face several lawsuits by angry collectors and the first trial began this week. The forgeries at the center of the scandal look like masterpieces by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and other prominent abstract expressionists. They were good enough to fool experts, and even Ann Freedman, then-president of Knoedler & Company, says she was duped. Her lawyer, Luke Nikas, says, “Ann Freedman believed in these paintings. She showed them to the whole art world. She showed them to experts. And she has piles and piles of letters from all of these experts informing her that the works are real.” Nikas says Freedman even bought some of the paintings for her own personal collection. But the plaintiffs in this case and […]

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