Tuesday 5 August 2014

Artist's Estate Sues Chelsea Hotel

The famous Chelsea Hotel in New York has been a setting for many a scandal. The last few years have seen comparatively milder wranglings over the artworks that used to hang in the hotel, prior to its sale in 2011.

The most recent case to be filed is a claim by the Larry Rivers Foundation (representing late American artist Larry Rivers) against the new owners of the Chelsea Hotel seeking recovery of a Rivers' painting that, the Foundation alleges, was loaned to the hotel for exhibition purposes only.

The Courthouse News Service provides further details.
Rivers [had previously] loaned another work in its series, De Kooning's Father: Portrait of Arshile Gorky," to the hotel, which hung prominently in its lobby before being sold to a third party, according to the complaint.
The foundation claims that Rivers loaned, but never intended to donate, "Dutch Masters" to replace that work. " 
After Dutch Masters was installed at the Chelsea Hotel, managers of the Chelsea Hotel asked Larry Rivers to donate Dutch Masters to the Chelsea Hotel and Larry Rivers refused that request," the complaint states. 
After Rivers died in 2002, his foundation received the title to "Dutch Masters."
It was not, however, until the hotel was sold that the Foundation asserted ownership and tried to recover the painting. After several years with no success, the Foundation was left with little option but to bring this recent claim seeking return of the painting and at least $250,000 in damages for conversion and unjust enrichment.

Considering some of the stories surrounding other paintings which went missing at the same time, success in the claim might not necessarily mean recovery of the painting. But let's hope that this piece was not just thrown in the bin.

Source: Courthouse News Service, 31 July 2014

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