The Art Newspaper reports that Knoedler Gallery, in conjunction with former director Ann Friedman, gallery owner Michael Hammer, and Hammer’s company 8-31 Holdings, have “quietly” settled three outstanding lawsuits pertaining to claims that they wittingly sold $60 million in fake Abstract Expressionist paintings.
Two of the cases, which closed this summer, were brought against Knoedler by intermediaries involved in a 2000 sale of a $1 million “Clyfford Still” painting, and a 1998 sale of a $358,000 “Rothko.” The third, which closed this past April, also involved a fake Rothko, purchased in 1998 for $320,000. All three suits were filed by private collectors.
Six remaining cases involve a variety of art institutions, including the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, the Beyeler Foundation near Basel, Switzerland, and Christie’s, which sold the fake $320,000 Rothko for $2.2. million and later refunded the buyer.
Peripheral suspects–Long Island art dealer Glafira Rosales, who is accused of transporting the fakes to Knoedler in the 1990s, her companion Jose Carlos Bergantinos Diaz, and the alleged forger, Pei Shen Qian—have not been included in the three settlements. (The article mentions that noted art historian Oliver Wick is a defendant in one of the open cases.)
The Art Newspaper quotes Knoedler’s legal representative, Charles Schmerler of Norton Rose Fulbright, who answered a question regarding the settlements’ role as precedence for the six open cases by saying, “We continue to vigorously defend the remaining litigation.”