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Judge Tosses $22 M. Hoffman Rothko Case

The Rothko in question. COURTESY ARTOBSERVED.COM

The Rothko in question.


This past Friday a U.S. District court in Dallas absolved financier and collector David Martínez Guzmán from any responsibility in a case that had the powerful collector Marguerite Hoffman demanding $22 million over a Mark Rothko painting that she said was improperly sold.

Friday’s ruling, following a motion for judgement, overturned a jury’s rulings that Martínez and his representative L&M Arts owed Hoffman $1.2 million to $500,000 for selling the work at auction, which reportedly broke the terms of a confidentiality agreement under which the Rothko, which had been (in essence) promised to the Dallas Museum of Art. Friday’s decision found that Martínez broke no agreement when he sold the painting at Sotheby’s in 2010 for $31.4 million, because L&M had no authority to enter into such an agreement on Martínez’s behalf.

“We’re pleased that the court found there was no agreement between my client, L&M and Hoffman,” said Martínez’s lawyer Jonathan Blackman, “And that the claim, which we believed had no merit from the outset, was finally dismissed.”

The judge did rule that L&M owes Hoffman $500,000 in damages, though without legal fees. The now defunct L&M’s former owners, Dominique Lévy and Robert Mnuchin, were unavailable for comment at this time.

Thanks to D magazine for pointing us the ruling.

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