A Paris court dismissed charges of bribery brought against Marlborough gallery’s New York branch, its former Asia specialist Philippe Koutouzis, curator Jean-Paul Desroches, and the family of deceased Chinese-French abstract painter Chu Teh-Chun, The Art Newspaper reported Monday.
The initial complaint was filed in 2012 by French dealer Enrico Navarra, who accused Marlborough of bribing Desroches, who held a position at the Musee Guimet in Paris, into setting up an exhibition of Chu Teh-Chun abstract-painted vases in order to manipulate the value of his works.
The suit alleged that Desroches was paid €20,000 for a text he wrote for a catalogue Marlborough published on ceramics, and that Desroches made three trips to Madrid, Beijing and Hong Kong that were paid for by Marlborough and Chu Teh-Chun’s family. However, Desroches’s lawyer argued in 2020 that these compensations had nothing to do with the exhibit that Desroches planned, but were for unrelated worked and exhibitions abroad.
The case had been postponed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before finally being heard and dismissed by the court in Paris this fall. A civil case is ongoing between the two parties in New York.
Navarra, who died in 2020, was known in his later years for being extremely litigious. In 2019, after launching a flurry of lawsuits and complaints against Marlborough, the dealer was given a suspended six-month jail sentence for slanderous denunciation. Navarra died before serving the sentence.