As of Tuesday, Lisa Schiff, a prominent art adviser, appears to have closed her New York firm SFA Advisory, which also operated a public gallery space, after a lawsuit was filed against her last week.
Richelle Rich, an artist who was to have a solo exhibition at SFA this June, wrote on Instagram Monday, “I’m sad to say that unexpectedly the gallery has closed. We will no doubt learn the whole story as things play out in the press, but for now I am left pretty devastated that 5 months of planning this show may come to nothing.”
Rich wrote that she had learned of the closure by text, and promised to find a way of mounting her canceled show in New York.
SFA has deactivated almost all of its website, and ARTnews was unable to reach a gallery representative. A spokesperson for Sutton PR said the firm was no longer working with SFA and directed ARTnews to a legal representative for Schiff without supplying contact information.
Last week, Schiff and SFA were sued by Richard Grossman and collector Candace Barasch, who alleged that she had defrauded them during the private sale of a $2.5 million Adrian Ghenie painting at Sotheby’s in either December or January. Grossman and Barasch claim that Schiff still owes them $1.8 million.
When pressed about the allegedly owed money, Schiff told Grossman “she did not have the money owed to Plaintiffs, and to call her attorney—and then walked away from him,” according to the lawsuit. He and Barasch are seeking $2 million in damages. Schiff has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
Barasch and Schiff had been close prior to the lawsuit, with Schiff even at one point labeling Barasch her “partner in crime.”
The lawsuit has made waves in New York, where Schiff is well-connected. The New York Times once labeled her “one of the better-known names” for collectors seeking guidance on purchases of art.