Larry Rivers Foundation Sues Chelsea Hotel Owner

Larry Rivers, Dutch Masters

According to Page Six, the Larry Rivers Foundation filed a lawsuit on July 29 against Joseph Chetrit, the new owner of the iconic artists’ abode the Chelsea Hotel. According to the suit, Chetrit is refusing the return a $250,000 painting, Dutch Masters, which Larry Rivers loaned to the hotel in 1998. The piece hung prominently in the lobby of the West 23rd Street building, which has been home to the likes of Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Charles Bukowski, and the artist himself for a period of time in the 1960s. Before Rivers died in 2002, he requested the piece be donated to the hotel.

When the hotel was purchased by Chetrit, he removed the piece and has since refused to return it to the foundation. The suit claims he attempted a similar stunt with pieces by deceased artist Adam Weinstein, which eventually led to a judge ordering Chetrit to turn over 22 works to the artist’s estate.

Chetrit claims that the painting was obtained in exchange for rent money, which seems highly unlikely as the “Grandfather of Pop Art” was not living in the hotel when the work was loaned in 1998. According to ABC News, a spokesperson for the real estate magnate claims that all artwork in the hotel has been catalogued and stored in a secret location for safekeeping during renovations to the property.

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