Knoedler & Co., the once-revered New York gallery that fell from grace due to its involvement in selling some $80 million worth of fake paintings over the course of 15 years, was the subject of a segment on 60 Minutes last night. (It used to be that the art world was only mentioned on 60 Minutes when the dearly departed Morley Safer was making fun of it.)
There’s nothing new here, but it is nice to watch Anderson Cooper receive some schooling in the mysterious ways of the art world. Here he is discussing the importance of a catalogue raisonné with art historian Jack Flam:
Anderson Cooper: Essentially a dealer would want a Motherwell that they have, that they are selling, to be in the catalogue of Motherwell’s work, so that-
Jack Flam: Absolutely.
Anderson Cooper: It gives it legitimacy?
Jack Flam: The catalogue raisonné in a way is the Bible for the market.
Cooper did not interview Ann Freedman, Knoedler’s president during the 15 years it was selling fake paintings—all of which came to the gallery by way of a Long Island dealer named Glafira Rosales. (“Though she initially agreed,” Copper says of Freedman, “just a few days before our scheduled interview, she backed out.”) Freedman, who has never been criminally indicted, has claimed to have not known that the paintings she was selling were fake. Her lawyer, Luke Nikas, reiterated this.
I wrote a thing about Knoedler & Co., too!