LOS ANGELES (CN) – A Croatian star stole Basquiat’s “Wine of Babylon” from her ex-husband when they broke up, the company claiming to own the painting says in Federal Court.
G&G Productions sued Croatian actress and singer Rita Rusic on April 16, seeking the return of neo-expressionist painter Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Wine of Babylon,” which Vittorio Cecchi Gori purchased from a gallery in 1988 for $330,000.
Gori assigned the painting to G&G, but apparently kept the work in Rome at the home he shared with Rusic.
The painting went missing when Gori and Rusic broke up, and G&G says Rusic “stole the ‘Wine of Babylon'” – although she has denied keeping it or even knowing where it is, the complaint states.
G&G Productions claims the painting is worth at least $1 million. Its lawsuit accuses Rusic of conversion and civil theft, replevin and unjust enrichment, and wants a judge to declare that it owns “Wine of Babylon” and to order its immediate return.
The company is represented by Brent Blakely of Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Rusic began her career as a model in the 1970s, later going on to star in several films and producing dozens more.
She and Gori divorced in 2000.
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