A district court judge in New York threw out a case brought by a high-profile Hollywood executive who claimed two art dealers duped him into buying a forged Rothko painting 20 years ago.
The suit was first filed in 2019 on behalf of Ron Meyer, vice chairman of NBCUniversal and co-founder of Creative Artists Agency. He alleged that in 2001, New York dealer Susan Seidel offered him an abstract painting that she said was by Rothko.
According to Meyer, Seidel claimed the work was signed by the artist, that it had been acquired directly from the painter’s family years ago, and that it would appear in a forthcoming catalogue of his work.
Meyer spent $945,000 to buy the work, after which it hung in his house for nearly two decades.
That is, until he learned it was a forgery—the painting had not been signed by Rothko, nor it did not appear in any literature about the artist’s work.
In the suit, Meyer’s lawyer, Bertram Fields, called for $10 million in damages, the amount he and his client determined an authentic Rothko would have been worth at the time. The filing also named California-based art dealer Jamie Frankfort, who introduced Meyer to Seidel, as well as five unnamed John Does, as defendants.
Meyer won’t see any of that money, as it turns out.
On Monday, a judge in New York’s southern district court dismissed the executive’s suit.
“The claims were as stale as they were baseless,” Seidel’s lawyer, Judd Grossman, told Midnight Publishing Group News. “The suit never should have been filed, and our client deserved this complete vindication.”
In a ruling, the court said the statute of limitations on Meyer’s claim had expired, regardless of what Seidel may have claimed.
Because the case was dismissed with prejudice, it cannot be appealed.
Neither Fields nor Frankfort’s lawyer immediately responded to requests for comment.
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