Knoedler & Company
In its May issue, Vanity Fair delves into the ongoing saga surrounding the Knoedler gallery, the Upper East Side stalwart which closed last year after 165 years in business, and its former director Ann Freedman. The gallery made headlines when allegations surfaced that it sold fake works attributed to some of the 20th century’s biggest artists, including Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Robert Motherwell.
While we’ve heard a lot about the scandal involving KnoedleR, and the various sales it made of works whose provenance is now disputed, Michael Schnayerson’s piece gives a colorful back story of Ms. Freedman, her rise at Knoedler and then her fall, challenging her due diligence in researching the provenance of her acquisitions for the gallery.
On Wednesday last week, Knoedler & Co., one of the oldest and most prestigious art galleries in the country, abruptly announced that it would no longer be open for business, “effective immediately.”
On Friday, The New York Times wrote an article about a federal investigation of “expert forgeries” of artists Jackson Pollock and Robert Motherwell, many of which came to the market through an art dealer from Long Island, Glafira Rosales. In several cases, these works were eventually sold through Knoedler by its former president, Ann Freedman. She resigned her post in 2009 amid accusations by the Dedalus Foundation–started by Motherwell to protect his work–that some of the works sold by the gallery were forgeries.
Knoedler is not implicated in the federal investigation, but on Friday a London collector sued the gallery and Ms. Freedman for selling him an allegedly forged Pollock for $17 million.
With a three sentence e-mail sent last night, the 165-year-old gallery Knoedler & Company announced it would close. Here is the blunt message:
“It is with profound regret that the owners of Knoedler Gallery announce its closing, effective today. This was a business decision made after careful consideration over the course of an extended period of time. Gallery staff will assist with an orderly winding down of Knoedler Gallery.”