Fat Cats Claw Over Twombly Transaction
New York City -- Gallery owner Larry Gagosian is being sued by his former pal, billionaire Ron Perelman, pictured left and right, respectively. Perelman is claiming market manipulation of a multi-million dollar Cy Twombly painting.
Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network know that this explosive art market can often back-fire on collectors, who aren't aware of manipulative forces at work.
The suit alleges that in April 2011, Perelman told Gagosian that he had his eye on a painting by Cy Twombly called “Leaving Paphos Ringed with Waves," exhibited at Gagosian's gallery in Chelsea.
Gagosian — whose customers include Steve Martin and Jay Z — quoted a price of $8 million.
But he claims in court papers that when Perelman went to buy it, Gagosian said it had already been sold to someone else.
A few months later, Perelman says, Gagosian told him the artwork was back on the market for $11.5 million.
The former Wall Street corporate raider talked Gagosian down to $10.5 million, but still thought he was getting ripped off. So he filed suit.
Perelman claims the first buyer was José Mugrabi, a Colombian immigrant who has amassed one of the world’s great art collections.
He believes that Mugrabi and his two sons worked with Gagosian to manipulate the art market and has subpoenaed them.
But Gagosian counters that he actually lost $2 million on the deal because Perelman insisted on paying for the Twombly by trading in a few pieces of unwanted art he already owned for credit.
Perelman wants to see how other deals with the Mugrabis went down — and whether the Twombly sale was “manufactured to enable [Gagosian] to extract an unwarranted premium for the painting,” he says in court papers.
His subpoena demands that Gagosian and the Mugrabis hand over information about all of their transactions from January 2010 to today.
But they’ve balked at the inquiry, insisting it has nothing to do with the Twombly painting at the heart of the lawsuit. They claim the subpoena is an attempt to “harass” them.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Saliann Scarpulla, who is overseeing the case, has acknowledged that Gagosian “has enormous power to influence, and even set, the markets for the artists he represents because of his . . . access to the largest private collections in the world.”
Perelman wants the judge to order the Mugrabis to uphold the subpoenas.