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.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

NBC NEWS: Long Island Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for $35M Fraud

A Long Island man was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison for a $35 million fraud that a judge said wrecked investors' lives.
Mikhail Zemlyansky, 39, was led out of a Manhattan courtroom in shackles after U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken sentenced the Hewlett resident a year after a jury convicted him of racketeering conspiracy and other charges at a monthlong trial.
U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken called him "sophisticated, deliberate and premeditated" as he carried out frauds that prosecutors said stretched from 2007 through 2012 .
The judge said Zemlyansky spent millions of dollars from investors' on vacations and fancy cars and watches.
Oetken called him "sophisticated, deliberate and premeditated" as he carried out frauds that prosecutors said stretched from 2007 through 2012.

Assistant US Attorney Daniel Goldman addresses Judge Oetken. Mikhail Zemlyansky,seated right. 
Assistant US Attorney Daniel Goldman said Zemlyansky and co-conspirators transferred millions of dollars from investors overseas to shell companies in Eastern Europe, where money was converted into cash and returned to the United States
They said Zemlyansky defrauded car insurance companies of hundreds of millions of dollars by creating and operating medical clinics that provided unnecessary or excessive medical treatments to take advantage of a no-fault insurance law that requires prompt payment for medical treatment.
In court papers, prosecutors said Zemlyansky lived a lavish life, spoiling himself with $100,000 luxury cars and $50,000 watches.
Oetken ordered Zemlyansky to pay a $50,000 fine and $29.5 million restitution.
Becker had asked that his client be sentenced to five years in prison, saying a day more would be excessive. Prosecutors had requested that he be sentenced to prison for well over 25 years, the length of time the Probation Department had recommended.

WSJ: Duped Art Collector Testifies in Knoedler Forgery Trial

The Wall Street Journal

Duped Art Collector Testifies in Knoedler Forgery Trial

Domenico De Sole says he trusted that $8.3 million painting he bought was a genuine Rothko

Domenico De Sole, on the witness stand Wednesday, pointed to the fake Rothko painting he purchased from Knoedler & Co. gallery.ENLARGE
Domenico De Sole, on the witness stand Wednesday, pointed to the fake Rothko painting he purchased from Knoedler & Co. gallery. PHOTO: ELIZABETH WILLIAMS
From the witness stand in Manhattan federal court Wednesday,Sotheby’s board chairman Domenico De Sole said he didn’t ask any experts to authenticate the $8.3 million painting he purchased, believing it was the work of abstract-expressionist artist Mark Rothko.
He didn’t need to, he said. He trusted the word of Ann Freedman: “She was the top of the art world.”
The painting turned out to be a fake and is at the center of a civil trial unfolding in federal court. Mr. De Sole and his wife are seeking to recoup their money and win damages for what they allege was fraud and racketeering perpetrated by Ms. Freedman and the Knoedler & Co. gallery, where she served as president.
In a scandal that rocked the art world, Knoedler was found to have sold dozens of fake paintings that it said were the work of midcentury modernist masters, such as Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock.
Ms. Freedman and Knoedler say they believed the paintings to be real, that they were conned by a Long Island art dealer who said she was working with an anonymous Swiss collector, known only as “Mr. X.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bill Robles and courtroom drawings open ArTree 2016 speaker series

Bill Robles and courtroom drawings open ArTree 2016 speaker series
Bill Robles drawing of Charles Manson featured in The Illustrated Courtroom book
Bill Robles and courtroom drawings open ArTree 2016 speaker series

Bill Robles, renowned courtroom artist for television news, opens the 2016 ARTree Speaker Series at the Old Town Newhall Library on Thursday, January 28 at 6:30pm. Robles draws the famous and the infamous in a career spanning more than 45 years.

Starting with the Charles Manson trial in 1970, Robles has illustrated defendants and lawyers at some of the countrys highest-profile trials including Patty Hearst, O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Robert Blake, Donald Sterling, Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan. He most recently reported on the hearings for Tonya Couch, mother of affluenza teen Ethan Couch, and Enrique Marquez, accused of supplying assault weapons to the San Bernardino massacre.
The ARTree Speaker Series is open to the public at no charge, and is sponsored by Egg Plantation and Newhall Refinery, and is part of Thursdays@Newhall. For more information contact ARTree at (661) 673-7500, at
Michael Jackson by Bill Robles

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

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"

Monday, January 25, 2016

Knoedler Gallery Trial Begins. Opening Statements by Emily Reisbaum

Knoedler Gallery Trial Begins: Today marks the first day of the long-awaited Knoedler & Company fakes case, wherein the venerable gallery knowingly or not sold more than 30 forgeries as genuine Pollocksde Koonings, and various other masters. In fact, the works were painted by a Chinese immigrant living in Queens. “It’s a unique opportunity for a public hearing of the machinations of the art world, which are usually very discreet,” said Nicholas M. O’Donnell, an art lawyer in Boston. 

Emily Reisbaum gives her opening in the Knoedler art fraud trial. Her client Dominico De Sole seated right, Ann Freedman sits left. During the opening a slide was shown of the fake Rothko.
New York Times story link

Friday, January 22, 2016

Roe v. Wade Was Passed 43 Years Ago. Artwork by Aggie Kenny

Forty three years ago on Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court secured the right for American women to have a legal abortion. In a 7-2 vote, the Court ruled that all women could have an abortion at any stage in their pregnancy, but allowed states to regulate the procedure in women's second and third trimesters. In doing so, the crucial work of tireless activists saved countless women in the U.S. fromunsafe procedures and emboldened them to lead the lives of their choice. 
Solicitor General Fried making argument to the US Supreme Court in Roe v Wade Reaffirmation by Aggie Kenny

The legacy of their work is evident today. The majority of Americans currently support abortion — a procedure that is not only one of the safest medical procedures for women in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute, but also a relatively common one. The vast majority of womendon't regret having had one.
Despite these facts, there are many women in the United States for whom abortion is ultimately inaccessible. Here are the many ways in which this legally protected right has not only been chipped away, but demonized. 
For more on this story see link

Thursday, January 21, 2016

2nd Defendant, US citizen, pleads guilty in UN bribery case. AP

NEW YORK (AP) — A U.S. citizen on Wednesday became the second person to plead guilty in connection with a bribery scandal at the United Nations, tearfully admitting that she bribed a former president of the U.N. General Assembly to gain his support for business ventures.
Sheri Yan, 60, entered the plea to a bribery charge in Manhattan federal court in a deal with prosecutors that recommended she be sentenced to between roughly six and seven years in prison. The charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. Her lawyers said she was not cooperating. Judge Vernon Broderick set sentencing for April 29.

Judge Vernon Broderick
AUSA Mukhi speaking to Judge Broderick 

Read more: 

Yan, speaking through a Mandarin interpreter, wiped away tears several times during the plea hearing as she admitted that she agreed with others to pay bribes to John Ashe so he could use his position as president of the U.N. General Assembly and as an ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda to promote business ventures from which Yan and others could profit.

Read more:
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