The billionaire art collector Ronald Perelman’s attempts to expose what he has called the “dirty” side of the art world ended on Thursday when his lawsuit against the international art dealer Larry Gagosian was dismissed by the appellate division of the New York State Supreme Court.
Mr. Perelman had claimed, through his holding company MacAndrews & Forbes, that Mr. Gagosian had taken advantage of him by: “undervaluing works when purchasing them, overvaluing them when selling them and pocketing the substantial differential,” This claim was the centre of what became a high-profile, public battle involving a group of artworks including a Cy Twombly painting, which Mr. Perelman purchased from Mr. Gagosian for $10.5 million, or £6.7 million. Mr. Perelman later claimed that he was substantially overcharged for the Twombly painting. Mr. Perelman had also exhanged works with the famous art dealer and also claimed that Mr. Gagosian had undervalued works in the exchange.
“Justice was done today,’’ said Matthew S. Dontzin, Mr. Gagosian’s lawyer. “We are gratified that the court unanimously dismissed this case, supporting our view.”
Dontzin continued: “The complaint does not establish that (Gagosian) exercised control and dominance over plaintiffs (Perelman’s art fund)—who by their own description frequently purchased, sold and exchanged works of art as investments,” the decision said. “These sophisticated plaintiffs cannot demonstrate reasonable reliance because they conducted no due diligence; for example, they did not ask defendants ‘Show us your market data.'”
While Christine Taylor, a spokeswoman for Perelman, said the collector is considering his legal options.
“While we are reviewing our appellate remedies and other options, it is obvious that this is no vindication for Mr. Gagosian,” Taylor said. “To the contrary, while the court decided that we were not entitled to rely on Gagosian, it did not conclude that he did not act fraudulently. Indeed, when it comes to the art market, apparently it’s buyer beware and when it comes to Larry Gagosian, it’s buyer be damned. “