Art Dealer Sought in £3m Art Fraud

Picasso Matisse and Klee works Defrauded By Cook Fine Art In New York

A Madison Avenue art dealer has been charged with defrauding a client of $4 million. It appears that Robert Scott Cook sold works by Picasso, Manet, Matisse, Renoir and others, keeping the money himself. Federal prosecutors said. Robert Scott Cook used his gallery, Cook Fine Art,in New York City to cheat a client by selling 16 of the collector’s artworks without telling him, according to the indictment. The watercolors, drawings and photography by blue chip Modernists were of the highest quality, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the works were consigned to Cook Fine Art and didn’t belong to the art dealer Robert Cook. “Cook sold this artwork to various galleries and auction houses for $4,293, 270. He failed to give the proceeds of those sales to the collector, and lied to the collector about the status of the art. Cook kept nearly all of the proceeds, except for approximately $100,000 that was paid to galleries as commissions,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement. An FBI spokeswoman added: “The allegation of the complaint is that Mr. Cook is a crook.” If convicted, Cook, 62, of New York City, faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of twice his ill-gotten gains. The charges in a criminal complaint in Manhattan accuse Robert Scott Cook of selling 16 works of art in total,without the owner/collector’s knowledge. Lawyers in court papers filed in a civil case against him say Cook is likely living abroad because he travels frequently around the world. A lawyer for the 62-year-old Cook did not comment.

Cook Fine Art has an impressive roster of artists listed on their website  including:  Balthus Alexander Calder Salvador Dalí  Paul Delvaux Jean Dubuffet Max Ernst Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres Vasily Kandinsky Ernst Ludwig Kirchner  Fernand Khnopff Willem de Kooning Wifredo Lam Fernand Léger  René Magritte  Aristide Maillol Edouard Manet  Henri Matisse Matta  Joan Miró Berthe Morisot  Isamu Noguchi Pablo Picasso Robert Rauschenberg Odilon Redon Pierre-Auguste Renoir James Rosenquist Edward Ruscha Egon Schiele Joachín Torres-Garcia Andy Warhol. All of these blue chip artiusts are regular sellers at international auctions.

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