Painting that was passed off as Mark Rothko artwork.
SOMETIMES you don’t get what you paid for.
A Malibu, Calif., art collecting-couple slapped a shuttered Manhattan gallery and its former president with a multimillion-dollar racketeering lawsuit Wednesday, claiming they were duped in a massive art fraud.
Martin and Sharleen Cohen said they were swindled into buying a pair of fake paintings, purportedly by Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning, for $ 475,000.
The federal complaint names the Knoedler Gallery, president Ann Freedman, chairman Michael Hammer and worker Jaime Andrade, along with bogus art dealer Glafira Rosales, who copped a plea in October in a criminal case, and her longtime boyfriend, artist Carlos Bergantinos Diaz.
“Defendants showed virtually no interest in the authenticity or origin of the works,” the lawsuit says.
The feds have an ongoing probe into what, at $ 80 million, has been called one of the largest art scams in history.
Many buyers are suing.
“These purchasers knew the exact risks associated with buying newly discovered works,” said Freedman’s lawyer, Luke Nikas. “This complaint will fail just like the rest of them once the facts come out.”
Lawyers for other defendants didn’t immediately return requests for comment.