The former president and director of the now defunct Knoedler & Company gallery, Ann Freedman has settled out of court, just one day before she was set to take the stand. The fraud lawsuit brought against her and the gallery by collectors Domenico and Eleanore De Sole, over an $8.3 million fake Rothko painting has been dominating the art press for the last few weeks.
The attorneys for both parties have confirmed that the settlement had been agreed. The case against Knoedler gallery and its parent company, 8-31 Holdings, will now continue in US District Court, in Lower Manhattan. Freedman’s lawyer Luke Nikas told the New York Times. “Ann is pleased to be able to reach this settlement,” “From the very beginning of these cases, Ann never wanted to keep a penny of the profits she made ( from selling the fake artworks).”
The Gucci boss sued Freedman and the gallery for selling them a fake Mark Rothko painting in 2004. They were seeking $25 million in damages. Freedman has always claimed that she was innocent, and misled by the Long Island art dealer Glafira Rosales. Ms Rosales pleaded guilty to fraud in 2013 and is currently awaiting sentencing. Rosales admitted hiring the Chinese Artist Pei-Shen Qian to paint the fakes. He later fled to China when the case broke. Many questions have been raised such as why this leading New York gallery only turned a profiit, over a ten year period by selling the Rosales fakes. The 165-year-old gallery shut up shop in 2011.
Image: Left Court drawing of Ann Freedman by Elizabeth Williams Right the fake Mark Rothko painting in question.