Christie’s sold fake Knoedler Rothko ‘worth’ $4m

Christie's finds itself caught up in the ongoing forgery scandal


Christie’s was one of the victims in the Knoedler scandal, selling a forged work by Mark Rothko in 2009. It originally came from Glafira Rosales, who received $170,000 for the work from Knoedler. The gallery sold it to Solomon & Co. Fine Art in New York for $320,000 in 1998. Solomon then sold the work to an unknown buyer, who consigned it to auction at Christie’s in May 2009, where it had a pre-sale estimate of $3m to $4m. The catalogue entry listed the provenance that Rosales had given to Knoedler: a Mexican collector had bought the work from the artist via the late art dealer David Herbert. Rosales has since admitted that the collector did not exist and that the work is a fake. The piece failed to find a buyer but later sold privately. “Christie’s cancelled the sale when we learned that Knoedler acquired the work from Rosales and fully reimbursed the purchaser,” a spokeswoman says. The consignor, New York-based collector William Lane, filed a lawsuit against Knoedler and its former director, Ann Freedman, on 12 December, alleging fraud.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Christie’s sold fake Rothko ‘worth’ $4m'