Investing in Big Art big gains or big losses another Secret Revealed

Posted on March 27, 2009



Investing in Big Art big gains or big losses another Secret Revealed

Tonight when I opened my Google News, there it was, another dirty secret made headlines. This time New York Art Dealer Lawrence B Salander indicted on the charge, he stole 88 million dollars from Art Investors, Collectors and Artists that consigned work with his upscale New York Gallery.

Art Dealer Is Charged With Stealing 88 Million

By James Barron New York Times, March 26, 2009

Seems Mr. Salander sold the same painting to more than one buyer and that he used artwork that he did not own as collateral to barrow money. He also defrauded Artists who consigned work with his gallery. The article by James Barron is a more complete picture and I am sure that as this case goes to court more information will come to light. In fact, the real figure may be closer to 100 million according to Barron’s sources.

It just makes me sick when these kinds of things happen to artists and art collectors who are our patrons. We as artists go to galleries for representation because we need help marketing and selling our work. We need to make a living and we want collectors to collect our work. Then to be Ripped Off or to have our patrons Ripped Off is just plan Bad Business for all of us. I am not suggesting that Mr. Salander is representative of the art market as a whole but he does represent the bad side of a market fraught with risk.

As I have said many times before “Do Your Homework” before you buy, invest or consign your artwork to anybody. But how do you guard against someone like Salander. He is a Dealer who is established and appears to be respectable and has been around for a long time. I guess you just have to dig harder and use your gut intuition as your guide. If a deal is too sweet, beware. It is a deal probably too good to be true.

Barron’s NYT article says that someone with the investigation attempted to contact Robert De Niro Sr. about his paintings and his connection with Salander but that he didn’t return the phone call. Mr. De Niro Sr. Died in 1993. He is the father of actor Robert De Niro.

I was confused when I read about De Niro. I had exhibited several of his paintings in 2000 as part of an Abstract Expressionist Exhibit. I knew he had passed away. De Niro Sr. was part of the now famous group of painters the Abstract Expressionists.

Maybe they were referring to his son who is trying to recover 12 of his Dads paintings.

As it turns out Salander is accused of stealing 12 of De Niro Sr. paintings that had been consigned to him. Read the Article

About Robert De Niro Sr. Abstract Expressionist 1922-1993

About Lawrence B. Salander

Bloomberg News