A corner stone of the New York art scene who sponsored museum caliber exhibitions was recently arrested and indicted for allegedly architecting and implementing an art-world ponzi scheme.
This art gallery dealer seems to have found a more lucrative form of art thievery than merely swiping a painting one at a time. He seems to have found a way to make multiple times the value of artworks by selling investments in paintings he did not own, and selling a painting several times to multiple buyers. Lawrence B. Salander was the owner of a now-closed Manhattan art gallery with a star-studded clientele, including tennis champion John McEnroe. He allegedly stole $88 million from them by selling part-interests in paintings where the part-interests were greater than the entire interest.
Criminal prosecutors state that in McEnroe's case, Salander sold to him a half-interest in an Arshile Gorky painting and told McEnroe that they would split profits when the painting was sold to someone else. McEnroe later learned the painting was hanging on someone else's wall, but Salander had not reported the sale or any profits to him, say prosecutors. When McEnroe confronted Salander, the gallery owner gave him a half-interest in another Gorky painting. McEnroe lost his ownership interest in that second painting after he loaned it to Christies auction house for an exhibit, and the auction house refused to return it. Allegedly, Christie officials told him another third party had claimed ownership of the painting and put a lien on it.
The New York District Attorney announced Thursday that a 100-count indictment names Salander and his Salander-O'Reilly Galleries LLC on charges that include grand larceny, securities fraud and forgery. Salander faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of first-degree grand larceny.
Author Ulrich Boser in The Garner Heist says: "Then, late one afternoon, sitting in my chair, gazing up at the portrait, it dawned on me that owning a artwork had its own potent power – it made me feel as if I controlled some portion of its skilled creativity, that there was a direct connection between me and the art… it was that emotion, that passion to possess a work of art that made art cons so successful."
Salander seems to have found a way to exploit his clients' emotion for art and desire to possess it, while lining his own pockets and living the Life-of-Reilly (pun-intended).Sphere: Related Content