MANHATTAN (CN) – A Rhode Island art dealer sold a 19th century landscape for $700,000 but paid the owner only $140,000, the consignor claims in New York County Court. Universe Antiques sued William Vareika and William Vareika Fine Arts over “The Rainbow,” by William Trost Richards.
Universe claims Vareika, of Newport, R.I., agreed to sell “The Rainbow” for $700,000 but has paid only $140,000 of it.
According to the complaint Vareika contacted Jack Shaoul, who works for Universe, in July 2007 to say he had a buyer. Universe says it consigned the painting to Vareika and sent him the painting, which supposedly was to go to a buyer from Hollywood.
In January 2008, Vareika asked if he could pay 10 installments of $70,000 each, according to the complaint. Universe says it agreed, then received just 2 payments before Vareika stopped sending checks. Universe adds that Vareika refused to return the painting.
“The Rainbow” is a 40-by-72-inch oil painted in 1890 that depicts an ocean shore on a cloudy day with a nearly full rainbow spanning the canvas. It previously was known as “Coming Rain, Atlantic City, New Jersey.”
Vareika’s Web site shows the painting as within the dealer’s inventory.
Universe says it wants the balance of $560,000 plus interest, $683,000 in legal fees and $2 million in damages for breach of the consignment agreement and fraud.
Universe is represented by Robert Greener.