Art Market

A dispute over a commission from a Mary Cassatt sale escalated into a lawsuit.

Wallace Ludel
May 13, 2019 5:11PM, via New York Post

Photo by Vladimir Solomyani on Unsplash.

A quarrel over commission fees regarding a $1-million Mary Cassatt painting has turned into a formal lawsuit between acquaintances of 15 years. When Florida-based Rosalie James inherited two works by Cassatt—the pastel-on-paper work Sketch of Tony (1914) and the oil-on-canvas work The Mandolin Player (1868)—she enlisted the help of Christine Keefe, a New York-based painter, to sell the works.

The signed an agreement whereby Keefe would receive 10% of the sale prices of the works. Keefe then consigned the works to New York’s Adelson Galleries, where Sketch of Tony purportedly sold for $1 million. When Keefe contacted James to ask for her agreed-upon 10%, James “ignored and thereby refused this request and all further requests that Keefe tried to communicate,” resulting in the present lawsuit. Keefe is seeking the $100,000, “damages in an amount to be determined at trial,” “pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, to the fullest extent allowable at law or in equity,” as well as the costs of all attorney’s fees.

Wallace Ludel