Mandela fails to stop London sales of disputed prints
By Martin Bailey. Market, Issue 194, September 2008
Published online: 02 September 2008
LONDON. Nelson Mandela’s lawyer is calling on London’s Belgravia Gallery to cease sales of lithographs designed by the South African statesman. After three years of legal problems, the gallery had resumed selling the limited-edition prints on his 90th birthday on 18 July (The Art Newspaper, June 2008, p57).
Bally Chuene, acting for the retired president, said that Belgravia and other galleries were being asked not to “sell artwork associated with Mr Mandela” until litigation has been completed in South Africa. Three years ago legal action was initiated by Mr Mandela against his former lawyer, Ismail Ayob, who had originally encouraged Mr Mandela to make the lithographs in 2002-03.
Mr Ayob denied any wrongdoing and earlier this year the case had appeared to have stalled. Anna Hunter, the head of the Belgravia Gallery, told The Art Newspaper that she does not regard Mr Mandela’s South African lawyers as having jurisdiction, “because our own stock of prints was purchased before proceedings began in 2005”. She points out that her signed lithographs have been authenticated by a handwriting specialist.
Belgravia is continuing to sell the prints, at prices of up to £15,000, and a proportion of the proceeds are being donated to charities in South Africa and India.
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