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Collector Says Gallery Took $950K for Forgeries

MANHATTAN (CN) - An art collector claims a Midtown gallery sold him nearly $1 million in bogus artwork it attributed to Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol.

Joseph Goldsmith sued Robert Durant, Lee Charlton Scott, Charlton Roberts Fine Art (of Milford, Conn.) and Charlton Rose Fine Art, of West 47th Street, Manhattan, in New York County Court.

Goldsmith says he paid the defendants more than $950,000 for 13 works.

From 2005 to 2007, he says, the gallery sold him eight works attributed to Haring:

"God," "Three Icons," "Self Portrait," "Jumping Man," "Dog Walking Man-1980," "Totem 1989," "Best of Haring" and "B. Boys." (pt. 13)

In 2007, Goldsmith says, Scott and Durant "solicited" him to buy four so-called Basquiats: "Jackie Robinson #42," "Pink Face," "The Black King" and an untitled work.

Also that year, he says, they "solicited" him to buy a so-called Warhol "Jack Kennedy."

"Plaintiff and defendants entered into written agreements for plaintiff's purchase of the artwork," the complaint states.

"Plaintiff paid defendants in full for plaintiff's purchase of the artwork.

"Plaintiff paid defendants in excess of nine hundred fifty thousand xx/100 ($950,000.00) in total for the artwork.

"In order to induce plaintiff to purchase the artwork defendants provided a written certificate of authenticity."

However, Goldsmith says: "On or about October 2010, plaintiff had the artwork examined by representatives of the Estate of Keith Haring and Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

"As a result of said examination, and other available information, it was revealed that the artwork were forgeries and/or fakes."

Goldsmith says that in June 2011, "defendant Scott acknowledged that it was his obligation to return the consideration and promised to do so."

However, he says: "Defendants have failed to make restitution notwithstanding repeated demands that they do so and promises by defendant Scott that he would do so."

He wants his money back, with interest, and punitive damages for breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, unjust enrichment, breach of warranty, and civil conspiracy.

He is represented by Russell Shanks, with Cyruli Shanks Hart & Zizmor.

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