Alec Baldwin Sues Over Counterfeit Painting

     MANHATTAN (CN) — Actor Alec Baldwin claims in court that he was tricked into buying a bogus Ross Bleckner painting by a New York City gallery owner who sold him the piece for $190,000.
     Baldwin’s lawsuit accuses Mary Boone and Mary Boone Gallery of fraud and deceptive business practices for allegedly passing off a counterfeit copy of Bleckner’s painting “Sea and Mirror” as authentic, complete with a phony Mary Boone Gallery inventory stamp, made-up back story and spurious explanation for the painting smelling inexplicably clean and bright.
     The complaint, filed Monday in New York County Supreme Court, says Boone’s sale to Baldwin was “part of a modus operandi that defendants have used to defraud other consumers, including purchasers and collectors of fine art.”
     According the lawsuit, Baldwin took great pride in his ownership of the painting, reportedly telling the story of acquiring “Sea and Mirror” at a Kennedy Center event honoring Paul McCartney, during which he said, “I love this thing so much.”
     Boone’s explanation for having cleaned the painting without Baldwin’s consent —
     the collector was a heavy smoker, according to her back story — raised enough suspicion for Baldwin to contact Bleckner seeking the previous owners of the “Sea and Mirror,” the complaint states.
     Baldwin says he later consulted a Soethby’s art expert to evaluate the authenticity of his purchase, who concluded Boone had sold him a fake.
     In May, the “30 Rock” actor confronted Boone, who allegedly admitted selling him a counterfeit, sending him an email stating, “im so sorry about all of this. i feel so bad about this. what can i do to make this up to you?”
     According to the complaint, Baldwin had been a fan of the New York-based painter since the 1990s and contacted Mary Boone in 2010 to purchase Bleckner’s 1996 painting “Sea and Mirror” for the” friendly deal” price of $190,000.
     Mary Boone’s lawyer Ted Poretz responded to Baldwin’s lawsuit by saying that the actor’s “effort to intimidate Ms. Boone does not change the fact that his claims are false.”
     “Ms. Boone has no interest in misleading clients and we are confident that this frivolous and vindictive lawsuit will be dismissed,” Poretz said. “Regardless of Mr. Baldwin’s unseemly reaction to his own misunderstanding, Ms. Boone offered him a full refund and took every step to handle this in a professional manner.”
     Poretz added, “Sadly, Mr. Baldwin’s decision to continue this personal attack is not surprising given his history of lashing out against anyone he believes is beneath him.”
     Baldwin is represented by Joshua Liston of Beys Liston Mobargha & Berland LLP in New York City. He seeks punitive, exemplary, special or consequential damages.
     Mary Boone Gallery was founded in 1977 and has shown Bleckner’s work since 1979, according to its website.

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