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Artemus Sues The Paul Kasmin Gallery Alleging Fraud Claims

Similar to life, the art world also had its own drama series. With so much happening, art lovers also get to access art news, with some being, interestingly amazing news, some a bit disappointing, others you cannot categorize them. But the point is, to not be detached to the art world.

Now, a New-York-based art-leasing company Artemus, has filed a court case against a New York art gallery Paul Kasmin, with fraud claims in regards to the sale of “La Scienza Della Fiacca”, a 1984 Frank Stella Art piece. ‘La Scienza della Fiacca’ features an explosion of layered abstract forms. The painting was shown during the 2015 Paul Kasmin Gallery exhibition, with the title ‘Frank Stella: Shape as Form’.(A similar work is being owned by the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC).

Artemus alleges that the Paul Kasmin gallery used backdated and falsified invoices, concerning the sale of “La Scienza Della Fiacca” to dealer Anatole Shagalov and his business, Nature Morte in the year 2014. The art leasing company claims that the said documents, led it to enter into a deal which amounted to $3.4M, paid to Shagalov and Nature Morte for the Stella painting and three other artworks.

Now the question that remains lingering on whether Shagalov and Nature Morte, did in actual sense have full ownership of the Stella painting has led to a storm with various involved parties taking legal action against each other.

When the Paul Kasmin Gallery (PKG) was asked to give a comment on the suit, it said that it did not have any deals with Asher Edelman, who is the co-founder of Artemus. And that in fact it had been dragged into a dispute regarding a transaction which it was not involved. It further brought on the table a motion to dismiss the suit, terming the allegations as falling short on the law’s required state on fraud claims. The gallery argues that Artemus failed to show that PKG intended to defraud it, and that PKG was involved in Artemus’ transaction with Shagalov and Nature Morte.

In the suit, which was filed in July in the New York Supreme Court, Artemus (founded by Asher Edelman, banker David Storper and the Durst Organization) claims that the fake documents caused it to incur a substantial financial harm.

Anatole Shagalov and his gallery, Nature Morte are said to have sued Artemus and its co-founder Asher Edelman in the same court on the 28th of Aug last year.

Although Shagalov conflicts that its transaction with Artemus was a sale, a complaint by Artemus differs. Artemus says that it had asked of Shagalov to have a documented full ownership of “La Scienza”, and says Shagalov in turn went to PKG, which had sold it a 60 percent interest of the art piece two years ago.

According to the complaint, Shagalov had not paid the full amount to buy “La Scienza”, and as a matter of fact, that Shagalov could have had full ownership of the piece for an additional $168,000.

Artemus claims that PKG had given Shagalov two invoices in 2016 that were backdated to 2014 and were accurately meant to mislead.

As per now, Artemus which is represented by Walden Macht is seeking punitive damages for fraud.

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