New Knoedler Lawsuit Targets Art Historian for Selling Rothko Forgery

A fake Rothko, Untitled, sold by the Knoedler gallery is now the subject of a lawsuit.

A fake Rothko, Untitled, sold by the Knoedler & Company gallery is now the subject of a lawsuit.

The latest lawsuit in the ongoing $80 million Knoedler & Company scandal includes a prominent Swiss art historian among its defendants, reports the New York Times.

Las Vegas casino operator Frank J. Fertitta III claims to have purchased a fake Mark Rothko from the gallery for $7.2 million in 2008. Art historian Oliver Wick, a curator at the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, Switzerland, served as consultant on the sale, and received $300,000 for his services.

The New York art gallery Knoedler & Company shuttered abruptly in December 2011 amid a flurry of lawsuits from customers who claimed they had been sold counterfeited paintings.

The forged artwork came from dealer Glafira Rosales, who enlisted a Chinese immigrant in Queens to create the fakes. Rosales, who sold 40 forged paintings through Knoedler and another 23 through Julian Weissman Fine Art, also in New York, recently pleaded guilty on nine counts and is awaiting sentencing.

The latest lawsuit names Rosales and Wick as defendants, as well as Michael Hammer and Ann Freedman, respectively Knoedler's former owner and director. Currently, Wick is a curator at the Kunsthaus Zurich

Knoedler maintains they believed that all of the works were authentic.