Crime and Punishment
The Sotheby’s skyboxes will be a little bit lonelier this year without Helly Nahmad. Even after a plea to teach art to the homeless, and character letters from art world luminaries such as Boy Meets World star Ethan Suplee, the flamboyant art dealer was found guilty of running an illegal gambling ring out of his apartment in Trump Tower, sentenced to one year and one day in prison, and has now been shipped up to the Federal Correctional Facility in Otisville, N.Y.
DNAInfo reports that Helly Nahmad’s lawyers have submitted a pre-sentencing memo in which Mr. Nahmad suggests several philanthropic, community service-oriented alternatives to prison, among them teaching the homeless about art, following his guilty plea to a federal gambling charge this fall.
The collector and dealer Helly Nahmad was not among the defendants arraigned in the district court on Pearl Street yesterday afternoon, though a number of his alleged coconspirators were, and as Judge James C. Francis went down the list of defendants, the court spent most of its time on a man named Arthur Azen, who seemed to represent the greatest excesses of the alleged gambling ring.
A heavyset man with closely shaved hair, Mr. Azen faces a maximum sentence of 115 years in prison, 24 years of supervised release, and a $2,250,000 fine—more than Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, Vadim Trincher, his son Ilya Trincher or Mr. Nahmad, the alleged leaders of the two criminal organizations listed in the indictment. If convicted, Mr. Nahmad faces up to 92 years in prison and his alleged partner Illya Trincher faces 97, while Mr. Tokhtakhounov faces 90 along with the older Mr. Trincher. (Mr. Nahmad was in Los Angeles at the time of the indictment, and surrendered to police there.)
Philippe Maestracci, an Italian citizen fighting to recover a Modigliani painting once owned by his grandfather, Paris dealer Oscar Stettiner, and allegedly sold without Stettiner’s permission by the Nazis during World War II, has dropped his suit in federal court against the Upper East Side’s Helly Nahmad Gallery, which he argued was in possession of the work.
But the fight appears to be far from over.
One of the first things you learn in any introductory journalism class—nestled somewhere between how to write a nut graf and why you shouldn’t use a pen when you’re reporting outside in the winter (the ink freezes)—is never to include in an article details about the meal you ate during an interview. This is why we’re so tickled by the Financial Times’ ongoing “Lunch with the FT” series. Here, the writer gets what sounds like a very expensive lunch with a powerful person–including a number of important art dealers–and meticulously catalogues the food consumed, often using the interviewee’s order choices as an extended metaphor for his or her personality and biography. Another thing, one that may or may not be particularly true of The Observer (we’ll never tell), the FT always picks up the tab.
They might not pass journalism 101, but boy howdy are these things a hoot. Let’s see what we’ve learned about our favorite art dealers from the kind of salad they eat.
When Joseph Nahmad was in his teens his father told him to take up gambling. The 21-year-old member of one of the world’s most prolific art-dealing families is soft-spoken, perspicacious and not the type you’d expect to have a past that includes high-stakes cards, but by age 16 he was hitting the poker tables of Monte Carlo.
Philippe Maestracci, the sole heir of a Jewish art dealer who owned a gallery in Paris in World War II, is suing the Helly Nahmad Gallery in New York for the return of an Amedeo Modigliani painting that belonged to his grandfather’s gallery until the Nazi invasion forced him to leave behind his art collection, according to Courthouse News Service.
Dealers, lawyers, investors and journalists crowded tables in the lavish 11th floor dining room of the New York Athletic Club this afternoon for the headline event of Marion Maneker’s Artelligence conference — a panel with art world heavyweights Nicholas Acquavella of Acquavella Galleries, Helly Nahmad of the New York’s Helly Nahmad Gallery, Guy Bennett of Read More