LOS ANGELES (CN) – An art collector asked a Los Angeles state court on Thursday to allow him to take possession of an original bronze sculpture by Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali, claiming his business partner won’t disclose its location.
Joseph Nuzzolo sued Tod Tarrant of Dade County, Florida, in Los Angeles County Superior Court claiming Tarrant has failed to provide him with financial records related to the Dali sculpture, titled “Hallucinogenic Toreador.”
Nuzzolo says to “avoid a bidding war” for the sculpture, he had entered into a joint-venture agreement with Tarrant to buy it from New York art expert Dr. Alex Rosenberg. Rosenberg commissioned Dali to make the sculpture in 1971.
“The joint venture was based on a 50/50 arrangement with the understanding that Nuzzolo and Tarrant would equally share profits, losses, and expenses. At the time of purchase, Nuzzolo secured the limited-edition rights to the original sculpture for himself,” Nuzzolo says in the 8-page lawsuit.
After Tarrant took the sculpture to the Meisner Gallery in Farmingdale, New York, the business partners began fighting over payments and expenses, Nuzzolo says. They tried to put into writing their oral agreement but were unable to agree on terms.
Nuzzolo says Tarrant took possession of the sculpture but refuses to disclose its whereabouts. He claims Tarrant visited Rosenberg’s office on June 27 and obtained a certificate of authenticity and bill of sale solely under his name.
Tarrant sold one of three bronze replicas of the sculpture without giving Nuzzolo a record of the sale, according to the complaint.
Nuzzolo seeks an accounting and physical possession of the sculpture on claims of breach of contract and breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
He is represented by Sa’id Vakili of Vakili & Leus.
Tarrant could not immediately be reached for comment after business hours on Thursday.