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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Auction House Accused of Selling Fake Picasso

QUEENS, N.Y. (CN) - Pablo Picasso's sculpture "Femme Debout" is at the center of a gallery's lawsuit against an auction house over the authenticity of the work.

Hartman Rare Art, a Manhattan-based gallery, thought it had gotten a bargain when it placed the winning bid of $9,840 for the sculpture at the Queens-based Capo Auction house on May 20, 2013, according to its six-page complaint filed in the Supreme Court of New York in Queens.

The lawsuit states that "the sculpture artwork, if original, genuine and authentic, would have had a fair market value of no less than $75,000."

Hartman's lawsuit reveals little about why the gallery believes the sculpture is a fake of the 1945 work.

The complaint is silent on any details about the sculpture's provenance, and the gallery's lawyer Stuart Serota of the firm Kaufman & Serota Esq. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Larry Berman, a co-owner of the auction house, said in a phone interview that he has not received a copy of the complaint.

The gallery wants a refund of the $9,840 it paid for the fake, and $75,000 in restitution - the fair market value of the real Picasso sculpture.

Picasso appears to have titled several of his works "Femme Debout," French for "Standing Woman."

One valued by Sotheby's at $1.2 million was a collaboration between the Spanish artist and the French sculptor Henri Laurens.

Another by Picasso alone sold for $37,400 at Christie's.

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