Collector settles financial dispute with David Khalili

Farbod Dowlatshahi no longer advisor to Khalili trust

London. The London-based collector of Islamic art, David Khalili, and the Dubai-based entrepreneur and art collector Farbod Dowlatshahi have been involved in a dispute that included a short period of custody for Dowlatshahi and his removal from the advisory board of the Khalili Family Trust. According to both sides the dispute has now been settled amicably.

For weeks the Dubai art world had been buzzing with rumours of Dowlatshahi being in prison, possibly for a cheque that had bounced, and that this related to the exhibition of the Khalili collection in Abu Dhabi in 2009, a show arranged by Dowlatshahi’s company, Delwood.

Dowlatshahi told The Art Newspaper that he was “taken into custody for a couple of days”, because of “some monetary issues” with Khalili. He said: “We had a dispute, it is all cleared up now and we are on perfect terms.” Sue Bond, spokeswoman for David Khalili, had earlier said that Dowlatshahi was “no longer on the advisory board nor involved in the activities of the Khalili Family Trust”.

Dowlatshahi is a noted collector of Middle Eastern and particularly Iranian art, with some 2,000 works, and was formerly a partner in the B21 gallery—now renamed Isabelle van den Eynde. His company Delwood, which organises sporting and cultural events in the Emirates, organised the show of the Khalili collection in 2009 as a “representative”, according to a Delwood press release. Dowlatshahi did not confirm that the dispute related to a possible brokerage of the collection to the Emirate. “The exhibition was a huge success, we were trying to create a new cultural strategy for the region,” he said. “There were hordes of visitors but that success didn’t end up monetarily.” Bond firmly denied that the collection was or is for sale. “There was never direct talk of a sale,” said Dowlatshahi, “but of course ultimately everything has a price; any collection is for sale if the right package is offered. David Khalili hasn’t reached that point yet: perhaps a hypothetical sale was a mirage.”

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 225 June 2011