New York Gallery Settles $2 Million Lawsuit Over Missing Stanley Whitney Paintings

A Russian collector was never refunded the balance after Gary Tatinstian Gallery gave him a lesser work.

Gary Tatintsian, right, is pictured with Ron Arad at his retrospective exhibition at Barry Friedman in May 2005 in New York City. Photo by Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The Gary Tatintsian Gallery in New York has agreed to settle a $2 million lawsuit with a Russian collector who alleged that it failed to hand over two Stanley Whitney paintings he purchased.

Andrey Isaev, who lives in Russia, had purchased two oil paintings by Whitney from the gallery in February 2022 for $2.45 million and $2.8 million, respectively.

Tatintsian, writing in court documents filed in the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, confessed that the gallery never delivered either painting to Isaev. He said the collector ultimately accepted a lower-valued Whitney painting for $1.85 million in April 2022 with the agreement that the gallery would refund Isaev the $3.4 million balance he had already paid.

But, by December 2023, the gallery had only refunded Isaev about $1.5 million and still owed him another $1.9 million. Isaev filed a lawsuit in a U.S. federal court accusing the gallery of conversion, civil theft, fraud in the inducement, and unjust enrichment.

On top of the $2 million, Tatintsian will pay Isaev interest of 2 percent, calculated to be $11,616, plus court costs and attorney fees, for a total of $2,013,881. Tatintsian’s gallery did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

The gallery’s website shows it has a location in Dubai, and Google Maps shows a location in Russia that is temporarily closed, as first spotted by Artnews.

Isaev’s lawsuit was filed against Tatintsian about a year after Whitney joined the mega gallery Gagosian.

Tatintsian, meanwhile, has previously been a party to several lawsuits dating back to at least 2012 when he sued the Russian-born artist and dealer Lew Nussberg, whom he accused of selling him forgeries and lying about their provenance.

Nussberg has said that he did not sell forgeries to the gallerist, who was forced to refund $3 million to buyers who returned disputed works.

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