Rolled for a Renoir, Man Says

PHOENIX (CN) – A man claims a Scottsdale art dealer sold him a Renoir sketch it claimed was worth $110,000 that was actually worth no more than $6,000.

     Mark Teich claims he bought Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Art Teacher” pencil sketch from Rima Fine Art and Custom Framing on Aug. 28, 2010 after gallery’s owner Dror Darel told him that “the value of the original artwork was $110,000,” that the work was “museum quality” and that it has “conservation framing.”
     According to the complaint in Maricopa County Court, Teich paid $43,000 for the sketch and Darel “provided a document to Teich on Rima Fine Art letterhead entitled ‘Appraisal,’ stating a value of the ‘painting’ as $110,000 and ‘museum quality, conservation framing $570 for a total value of: $110,570.'”
     Teich says he had the sketch appraised at Christie’s Appraisals in New York, which “estimated the value of the artwork at $4,000-$6,000 and subsequently issued an insurance appraisal for the artwork valuing the artwork at $7,000,” the complaint states.
     Teich says he asked Rima Fine Art to rescind the sale and return his money, but it refused.
     Teich claims that because of Darel’s “knowledge and experience in the field of art, Darel should have known the representation he made concerning the value of the artwork were false.”
     He adds that Darel’s appraisal “provided by Rima was not prepared and provided in a professional manner, was not prepared in compliance with applicable professional standards for works of art such as the artwork, and did not provide a fair representation of the value of the artwork.”
     Teich seeks at least $103,570 in compensatory damages for breach of contract and negligence, and rescission of contract.
     He is represented by Ira Schwartz and Jeannette Bickner Cross with DeConcini, McDonald, Yetwin and Lacy.

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