A lawsuit filed by a Hong Kong-based billionaire heiress Karen Lo alleges that the prominent art dealer Pearl Lam falsely claimed to have acquired a Monet-inspired Banksy painting for Lo—who paid Lam over $600,000 for her services—that was never delivered, Reuters reports.
The aptly named painting, Show Me The Monet (2005), sold in 2020 at Sotheby’s for over $9 million, more than double its low estimate of $3.7 million.
Lam’s office told Reuters that the sale was a “private matter and we regret it is being litigated in the press. Of course, we have offered a full refund and we look forward to resolving this matter promptly.” Her gallery is among those participating in Art Basel Hong Kong, which opened this week.
According to the South China Morning Post, the Banksy painting isn’t the only grievance between Lo and Lam. In a separate matter, Lo accused Lam of failing to repay a HK$5 million (about $637,000) loan.
Show Me The Monet was part of Banksy’s 2005 exhibition “Crude Oils: A Gallery of Re-mixed Masterpieces, Vandalism and Vermin”, in which the artist criticized consumer culture and the commercialization of art by reworking art historical landmarks like Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks.
With Show Me The Monet, the Banksy expertly recreated the Impressionist master’s beloved Japanese bridge at Giverny with the addition of a couple of empty shopping carts and a bright orange traffic cone floating in the once-unspoiled pond.
Lo’s grandfather founded the beverage mega-brand Vitasoy. Lam is the daughter of the late Hong Kong tycoon and philanthropist Lim Por-yen.
Pearl Lam Gallery did not immediately respond to an ARTnews request for comment.