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    Collector Files Lawsuit Over Lost LeWitt Paperwork

    Missing paperwork related to a 1985 Sol LeWitt wall drawing, Wall Drawing #448, is at the center of a lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court on May 22

    NEW YORK—Missing paperwork related to a 1985 Sol LeWitt wall drawing, Wall Drawing #448, is at the center of a lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court on May 22. The suit, which seeks $350,000, claims that without the certificate of authenticity, the artwork is unsalable and thereby worthless.

    The lawsuit was brought against Chicago dealer Rhona Hoffman by Roderic Steinkamp, an art collector and dealer in Puerto Rico, who had consigned the “artwork”—the certificate of authenticity and a diagrammatic description of what it would look like (referred to as the “maquette” in the claim)—to her gallery on March 31, 2008.

    According to the suit, the paperwork states: “This is to certify that the Sol LeWitt wall drawing number 448 evidenced by this certificate is authentic.”

    At some point between that date and January 2011, Hoffman lost the certificate and maquette, and she informed Steinkamp in January 2012 that her insurance company refused to cover the loss, according to the suit.

    Steinkamp was not available for comment, and calls to the Pace Gallery, which represents the LeWitt estate, and to Sofia LeWitt, the artist’s daughter and executor of the estate, were not returned.

    The highest auction price paid for a LeWitt wall drawing, the pencil and colored pencil Wall Drawing #91, is $278,500 (estimate: $150,000/200,000) reached in 2010 at Sotheby’s as part of an auction of Selected Works from the Neuberger Berman and Lehman Brothers Corporate Art Collections.