Monday, April 06, 2009

Art Market Crises: A Crooked Art Dealer and Angry Art Collector

Lawrence B. Salander in Court, Via New York Times

Weeding my way through recent art news I hit on two stories of interest. One involves a crooked art dealer and the other involves an angry art collector. Both stories are being hailed as examples of the collapse of the art market as we know. Oddly enough, in both situations the state of the economy has received some of the blame-- or is acknowledged for having opened the window for outsiders to view the deceit.
The art dealer, Lawrence B. Salander, was arrested in late March after being accused of stealing over $88 million from several art owners, investors, and Bank of America. Salander has been charged with grand larceny, forgery, falsifying business records, scheming to defraud, and perjury. Needless to say, the once prominent art dealer has pleaded not guilty. Salander faces up to 25 years in prison and his bail is set at $1 million.
My guess is that Salander will not be dealing in art anytime soon-- especially since his Salander-O’ Reilly Galleries is now bankrupt. This is the type of art dealer that gives all art dealers a bad name.

Francis Bacon, Study for a Self-Portrait, 1964, Via Rawartint

The art collector, George Weiss, is furious with high-profile auction house Christie’s. Weiss filed a lawsuit against Christie’s due to the fact that the auction house was unable to sell a self-portrait by Francis Bacon owned by Weiss. Christie’s had offered Weiss a minimum guarantee that the Bacon would sell. Unfortunately, the auction house failed to follow through after Weiss consigned the work. Christie’s has noted the turmoil of the art market in their defense. When all else fails-- blame the economy.

Links of Interest:
Christie’s Sued For $40M Over Francis Bacon Painting [Wall Street Journal]
The economic crises has fueled an already chaotic art world. In New York City there has been a betting game going on amongst gallery staff concerning which gallery will close next. Artists are have been forced to move to less expensive studios. Materials are becoming more pricey. Art museums are cutting staff and benefits. From that woodwork the roaches of the art market will surely be exposed-- and stomped upon.
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
Myartspace Blog on Twitter

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