Knoedler Forgery Scandal Widens to Engulf Other Well-Known Galleries

The forgery scandal surrounding Knoedler Gallery is growing broader by the day. In a recent article, the Art Newspaper provides a good summary of the debacle, and points out something we hadn’t heard before. It seems the investigation has unwittingly drawn in a number of other leading art galleries: Timothy Taylor Gallery, Jamie Frankfurt, and Haunch of Venison. Though none of these galleries is a party to the lawsuit, they have been named in legal papers as having been intermediaries in disputed sales or having displayed disputed works.

The complicated legal snarl, which includes a federal investigation and a separate lawsuit from hedge fund manager Pierre Lagrange, concerns a cache of allegedly fake paintings by modern masters including Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman that passed through the blue-chip Knoedler Gallery. But now Knoedler, which closed abruptly in December, isn’t the only one caught up in the investigation. Timothy Taylor Gallery and dealer Jamie Frankfurt have been named in legal papers as intermediaries in the sale of the Pollock painting that Lagrange purchased for $17 million in 2007, which he now believes is a fake.

Court papers for a separate investigation concerning Knoedler state that Haunch of Venison showed another disputed work in its opening show in 2008. The painting, purported to be by Barnett Newman, is said to have come from the same mysterious source that supplied the disputed works to Knoedler Gallery. The Art Newspaper notes that the current whereabouts of this work are unclear. As the investigation widens, we have to wonder: how many more questionable works will be uncovered, and just how many galleries will be implicated? Stay tuned.