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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Artist Says NY Gallery Owes Her $468,000

MANHATTAN (CN) - Artist Dana Melamed says a Manhattan art gallery owes her more than $68,000 on consignment sales, discounted pieces without her permission, and refuses to return works worth $400,000. She sued Priska C. Juschka Fine Art in Federal Court.

Melamed, an abstractionist who works in sheet metal, Cinefoil, photographic film and industrial waste, among other media, says she entered into a consignment agreement with the gallery in June 2005.

Under terms of the agreement with gallery owners - and co-defendants - Priska Juschka and Arnold Katzen, the gallery was to sell Melamed's works at a mutually agreed upon price, Melamed says. The gallery was to take 50 percent commission and pay Melamed her 50 percent within 30 days.

But Melamed says the defendants have intentionally misrepresented the price of a collection of her works.

"Specifically, the plaintiff's art works entitled 'Temporary cities, No. 1-9,' 'Urban Mechanism,' 'Driven,' 'Post-Human' (collectively, 'Art Basel Works') were sold by defendants to an undisclosed buyer in June 2009 for the total about of $143,650," the complaint states.

Melamed says the gallery told her those works sold for only $98,000, and have paid her only $20,000 in installments.

She says the art work is scheduled to be shipped to a buyer in Switzerland.

She adds: "Since 2005, defendants allegedly sold forty six of plaintiff's art works. However, defendants provided Plaintiff with Advices of sales for only 29 art works."

And, she says: "In addition, in violation of the consignment agreement and without the plaintiff's written consent, most of her art works sold by the gallery were discounted by defendants."

On March 31 this year, Melamed says, her attorneys sent a cease and desist letter to the gallery, demanding immediate return of all of her work, pursuant to the consignment agreement. She says the defendants failed to do it.

Melamed seeks actual damages of at least $68,825 and $1 million in punitive damages, alleging breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment and conversion.

She is represented by Daniel Schnapp, with Fox Rothschild.

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