LOS ANGELES (CN) – An art financier says a co-owner of a painting attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci tried to keep him from recouping millions in loans he made to one of the painting’s co-owners. Howard Farkas’ Superior Court complaint involves the painting “La Belle Ferronniere,” which he says is “believed by many to have been painted by Leonardo Da Vinci.”
Farkas says defendant Jacqueline Hahn claims ownership, but he has a “superior, preexisting claim” based on more than $2 million in loans he made to the painting’s other owners, including defendant Jack Chapman and Leon Loucks.
Loucks is not named as a defendant in Farkas’ complaint.
There are two paintings known as La Belle Ferronniere, or La Belle Ferroniere (a ferroniere is an ironmonger.) Both paintings are believed to depict mistresses of Ludovico Sforza, a member of the powerful Renaissance family of Milan. Both have been attributed to Da Vinci, or to his school.
The complaint does not precisely specify which painting is at issue, though it says, “This painting has been the subject of many, many years of litigation, and is believed to have substantial value.” Farkas says the painting “is stored in a secure facility in Omaha.”
Farkas says he met Loucks in 1985, when Loucks was sole owner of the painting. Between 1985 and 2004, Farkas says he loaned Loucks more than $2 million in marketing capital. Loucks allegedly agreed to pay Farkas at least $3.75 million when he sold the painting, and to pay more if the painting fetched more than $80 million.
In April this year, Chapman and Hahn settled a disagreement with a stipulated judgment in Douglas County, Nebraska, allowing Hahn to take control of the painting, Farkas says.
Farkas says Hahn failed to notify him of the Nebraska proceedings. Farkas wants his loan back with interest, damages, and an order rescinding the stipulated judgment between Chapman and Hahn.
He is represented by Richard Farkas of Sherman Oaks.