Art market

US judge throws out latest non-payment case involving Anatole Shagalov

Dispute with Artemus centred on a multimillion-dollar leaseback arrangement involving Keith Haring and Frank Stella works

In 2017 Anatole Shagalov sued Artemus over a leaseback scheme Max Rapp/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The long-running legal battle between Artemus, the art sale/leasing company set up by the financier Asher Edelman, and the art dealer Anatole Shagalov, has finally been concluded with a “win” for Artemus.

The battle started in 2017 when Shagalov and his company Nature Morte (no relation to the New Delhi gallery) sued Artemus over a multimillion-dollar leaseback arrangement, which included a Keith Haring and two Frank Stellas.

Shagalov allegedly did not pay the agreed fees and then tried to prevent Artemus from selling the art, claiming his arrangement with Artemus was a “collateralised loan” and not a purchase. Artemus’s business model is to buy a work of art and then lease it back to the vendor. Shagalov initially prevailed in court, but in March this year Justice John Koeltl dismissed Shagalov’s case with prejudice, bringing the whole affair to a close.

Shagalov’s lawyer was contacted for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.

Artemus has to go back to court to claim various costs, such as unpaid lease charges and legal fees, which could be upwards of $4m.

Meanwhile, in a separate case there was another “win” for Edelman. His art dealing firm Edelman Arts has been awarded an extra $1.5m in the complicated case it brought against an Abu Dhabi entity. The sum of $6.5m was initially awarded on the basis of lost commissions and profit and interest by a magistrate in the Southern District Court of New York, but was upped by a court judge in March.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper, 333 April 2021