Art market

Was the Knoedler gallery warned about fakes?

The family of the artist Richard Diebenkorn says it alerted the gallery to fakes before they were sold


The ongoing saga of forgeries purportedly sold by the New York-based Knoedler gallery, which closed last November, continues as the family of the artist Richard Diebenkorn says it alerted the gallery to fakes before they were sold.

Richard Grant, the artist’s son-in-law and the executive director of the Diebenkorn Foundation, told the New York Times last month that he visited the gallery and met its former president, Ann Freedman, in 1993.

John Elderfield, the former chief curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, now with Gagosian Gallery, and Gretchen Grant, Diebenkorn’s daughter, were also present, according to Grant. “While the passage of time has made details blurry, we do remember seeing drawings, indicating that we knew nothing about them,” he told The Art Newspaper.

Neither the Diebenkorn Estate nor the Diebenkorn Foundation has instigated legal proceedings. The New York Times reports that Ann Freedman’s lawyer has evidence suggesting that the family approved the works they saw, but Grant told The Art Newspaper that he is not aware of any “evidence that anyone in the family ever approved any of these works”.

Last month, Freedman and the Knoedler gallery filed a motion to dismiss a $17m lawsuit brought in 2011 by the hedge fund manager Pierre Lagrange, over an alleged fake painting purportedly by Jackson Pollock.

At the time of going to press, Freedman was unavailable for comment.


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