Blog: Thursday 22nd September 2016
THE SWITCH? DID ALEC BALDWIN PAY $190,000 FOR THE WRONG PICTURE
The Ross Bleckner “Sea and Mirror” at Alec Baldwin’s Manhattan Office. Santiago Mejia/The New York Times
The American Actor Alec Baldwin sues Manhattan art dealer, saying she sold him a version of a painting for $190,000 that was not the original.
In court papers filed Monday, September 2016, the Daily News reports Baldwin claims art gallery owner Mary Boone sold him an alternative version of artist Ross Bleckner’s “Sea and Mirror” in 2010.
Baldwin first saw the painting ten years ago when the gallery owner Mary Boone sent him an invitation to a show of work by the painter Ross Bleckner, an artist whom she represented and befriended.
So began Alec Baldwin’s love affair with the painting – an infatuation that has ended with Mr Baldwin, who occupies a central role in New York’s cultural circles, now pitted in a bitter dispute with two formidable players in the city’s RAREFIED art world – Ms Boone, a prominent art dealer, and Mr Bleckner, one of her notable talents.
According to the actor, something about the painting gave him unease. The colours weren’t quite right and the SMELL – “it smelled somehow new”. In fact, Baldwin said, just a few months ago he discovered that he had not bought the painting he pined for. Instead, he said, for reasons that remain disputed, Ms. Boone sent him another version of the painting which she passed off as the original.
When Baldwin later had the painting examined by experts he was told it wasn’t the original painting that Bleckner did in 1996. He is now suing for the difference in value of the two paintings and attorney fees.
Baldwin’s attorney John Hueston, said that the actor “sees this as an opportunity to help address counterfeiting in the world of fine art sales”. According to Mr Hueston, since filing the suit he had had several inquiries from other buyers who felt that they had suffered fraud.
(Information from: Daily News)
The ‘shady’ incident is hardly the first to end badly in an opaque, largely unregulated art market. It raises questions about authenticity, description and the motivations behind selling art for the highest price attainable.
Claire Moore BA(Hons)