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KnoedlerArt4KnoedlerArtKnoedlerArt5From Socrates to O.J., Paleolithic to Pollock, societies can be interpreted by their trials and art. The recently settled De Sole/Knoedler art fraud case is no exception.

Courtroom illustrations of the trial, by Elizabeth Williams and Victor Juhasz, are available to view and purchase at World Trade Gallery (120 Broadway) through February 27.

Desole2Domeneco and Eleanor De Sole have entered into an agreement that ends all claims against Ann Freedman over their $8.4 million purchase of a bogus Rothko painting from the Knoedler gallery in 2004. The suit against the gallery continues.

Why was there a settlement? Perhaps it was a sincere attempt on the part of Ms. Freedman to make the De Soles whole again. Perhaps the De Soles knew that if the case had gone to the jury, they might have found Ms. Freedman guilty of fraud, but they might also have opted not to award damages to the De Soles — because of mitigating circumstances, like the fact that the De Sole’s art adviser had authenticated the fake Rothko painting purchased by them.

Update 2/10/16: The De Soles have now settled with Knoedler & Co. gallery too.

LegalTech2016eAs legal professionals gathered at Legal Tech this week, to share best practices on managing risk through e-discovery and data security, LE asked (female) representatives of “Discover Ready” if Hillary Clinton would be ferreted out by their algorithms. They assured us she would be.

DavidAnfamDr. David Anfam, recognized authority on the paintings of Mark Rothko and Senior Curator at the Clyfford Still Museum, testified today at the De Sole/Knoedler art fraud trial going on in Manhattan.

Commenting on Ann Freedman’s efforts, as president of the now defunct Knoedler Gallery, to get a burnt ‘Clyfford Still painting’ into the Clyfford Still Museum, he quipped: “It’s a bit rich…an alleged fragment of an alleged Clyfford Still painting into the Clyfford Still Museum.”

AnnFreedmanDomenicoDeSole2Picasso once said: “In my case a picture is the sum of destructions.” For Ann Freedman, leaving court in Manhattan today, the sum of destructions is dozens of fake master artworks from the ‘Rosales Collection’ — that she sold from 1994-2008, with wreckage for collectors in the tens of millions of dollars.

The trial underway this week concerns a fake Rothko, Untitled, sold by Freedman in 2004, while president of Knoedler & Company, to Domenico De Sole, Chairman of Sotheby’s (bottom photo) for $8.4 million. The plaintiff is seeking $25 million in damages.

The job of the jury in this case, to work through reams of evidence and deceptions — and deliver justice, will be especially daunting. After the first day of testimony, one of the jurors, claiming to have had a nervous breakdown, left the the trial.

It seems the outcome of the trial will hinge on whether the defense can prove that Freedman was duped by the forgers, and some art experts, thereby selling fake paintings unknowingly, or the plaintiff can prove that Freedman acted knowingly in a cabal with the forgers and art experts, in ways that defrauded collectors and museums (Mr. De Sole in particular).

At least five other plaintiff’s law suits, brought by parties that bought fake paintings from the gallery, have been settled by Ms. Freedman & Knoedler.

Photographs: Stephen Wise

TimesSquare082814TimesSquare082814b“Heresy promotes the business spirit.” Spanish proverb

A boy visiting Times Square with his family paid a stripper (wearing only a G-string and paint) to have his picture taken with her, under the protective gaze of NYPD.

A woman in the crowd (white shirt), who witnessed the encounter, confronted the boy’s parents, reprimanding them for promoting such activity.

In September 2011, a painted (naked) model was arrested in Times Square for being a painted (naked) model in Times Square. In 2012 her case was overturned, on the grounds that her work was ‘performance art’ — and the city gave her $15,000.

Analysis: Today in America there exists widespread distrust of society’s leaders, especially in matters regarding children (see vaccines & education). The sanctioning of such activities in Times Square makes it easy to understand why.

The cost of impurity is diminished consciousness and peace, within and among persons, leading to a more brutal and violent society.

America’s ‘rights revolution’ — unburdened by truth, and aided by rebellious lawyers and judges who have weaponized the courts, is leading to darkness and chaos. But for the opportunists, “That’s the idea!”

Photographs: Stephen Wise

HerBodyHerChoiceIn his state-of-the-state address yesterday, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo called for a women’s equality act that would codify abortion rights in state law. To emphasize his point, he twice yelled out: “Her Body, Her Choice!”

In New York, female minors can get an abortion without parental permission. And yet less than a year ago Governor Cuomo, citing health risks, signed a bill into law requiring that minors get parental permission — in writing, before getting body piercing or access to a tanning booth. Most honest medical professionals would agree that abortion poses a far greater health risk, physical and psychological, than a tanning booth.

Often times political leaders and activists see a woman as just a body, and a fetus as just a clump of flesh. As a result, their advocacy is based on a flawed understanding of (or rebellion against) the bigger picture of the human person and truth. LE once asked Gloria Steinem — “Where do women get their power?” She replied: “Their body.”

Photograph: Stephen Wise