Art Law Report

Knoedler Gallery Owners May be Liable for Forgery Scandal, Jury Will Decide

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 14, 2019 at 9:11 AM

The sprawling saga of the M. Knoedler & Co. Gallery forgery scandal is approaching a full decade since the storied gallery closed abruptly in 2011 (fuller background further below). The last pending civil suit related to the case is now headed for trial in July after the U.S. District Court denied a motion for summary judgment by the gallery’s shareholders that argued that they could not be responsible for the company’s liability. Judge Paul G. Gardephe of the Southern District of New York ruled that there were factual disputes on whether those shareholders indeed could be responsible for alter ego liability that can only be resolved at a trial. The court did award Defendant Michael Hammer summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ fraud, fraudulent concealment, aiding and abetting fraud, aiding and abetting fraudulent concealment, conspiracy to commit fraud, and conspiracy to commit fraudulent concealment, RICO, and RICO conspiracy claims.

Read More

Topics: Ann Freedman, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Southern District of New York, RICO, Glafira Rosales, M. Knoedler & Co., Abstract Expressionist, Gardephe, piercing the corporate veil, Monsanto, Roundup, Michael Hammer, 8-31, Knoedler LLC, alter ego

Rutgers Law Review Article Advocates Replacing Restitution Litigation with Prosecutions

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 22, 2013 at 6:12 AM

The Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion has published a provocative article that advocates a bold new take on Holocaust art restitution litigation. The thesis of the piece is easily gleaned from its title: “Nazi Looted Art and Cocaine: When Museum Directors Take It, Call the Cops.” In a nutshell, the article argues that if artwork were stolen during World War II, it can never be acquired legitimately thereafter, and its possession is by definition a violation of the National Stolen Property Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2314—or even the Racketeer-Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Read More

Topics: 18 U.S.C. § 2314, Girolamo Romano, Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged by a Rogue, Bakalar v. Vavra, Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion, Raymond Dowd, Egon Schiele, ARCA Conference, Portrait of Wally, RICO, Washington Principles, Racketeer-Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, National Stolen Property Act, Copyright Litigation Blog

Sullivan 4c

About the Blog


The Art Law Report provides timely updates and commentary on legal issues in the museum and visual arts communities. It is authored by Nicholas M. O'Donnell, partner in our Art & Museum Law Practice.

The material on this site is for general information only and is not legal advice. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage which may result from reliance on it. Always consult a qualified lawyer about a specific legal problem.

Meet the Editor

Subscribe to Blog

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all