Over the past couple months, ARTnews has reported on legal filings by various parties who claim to have ownership titles to works that were sold by Inigo Philbrick, a dealer who was accused of withholding millions of dollars in art from the German art firm Fine Art Partners in a 2019 lawsuit. Now, a collector has made similar allegations in a new legal filing.
In an affidavit filed in New York’s Supreme Court on Friday, collector Andre Sakhai claimed that he entered into a deal with Philbrick to buy a Wade Guyton work. He claimed that he discovered, later on, that the dealer had sold the work to another entity without his knowledge. The filing was submitted as part of a lawsuit filed by Guzzini, an art-collecting entity, which is seeking the return of a Rudolf Stingel painting of Pablo Picasso that it says Philbrick consigned to Christie’s without the company’s knowledge.
According to Sakhai’s filing, through his company V&A Collection, LLC, in 2013, he purchased a 50 percent ownership interest in an untitled Guyton painting featuring a flaming U form from 2006.
An invoice submitted with the filing said that Philbrick also paid Sakhai $350,000 for a different Guyton work featuring an X form. According to the invoice, the X work had been purchased from Modern Collections, an entity co-owned by dealer Jay Jopling, who founded the London gallery White Cube that previously employed Philbrick. Sakhai’s filing said that Philbrick shared the ownership of Modern Collections with Jopling, who has since said he is “disappointed” in the young dealer. Through a White Cube representative, Jopling said that he is the sole owner of Modern Collections.
Sakhai’s filing alleges that, in 2017, “without the [V&A] Collection’s knowledge or consent, and without any compensation,” Philbrick then transferred the interest to Guzzini. According to Sakhai, Guzzini has “refused” to return the work to him and “declined to recognize” his alleged ownership interest.
“Since the time that the fraud was revealed several months ago, we are seeing more victims coming forward to claim what is rightfully theirs,” Judd Grossman, a lawyer representing Sakhai, said in a statement.
A lawyer for Guzzini did not immediately respond to a request for comment.