Art Market

Howardena Pindell sued her former gallery.

Justin Kamp
Apr 24, 2020 4:21PM, via ARTnews

Howardena Pindell at an opening reception at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on April 20, 2018. Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images.

Artist Howardena Pindell is suing members of the N’Namdi family, the owners of her former gallery G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, as well as several other commercial galleries across the U.S. The suit alleges that George Richard N’Namdi and his son Jumaane N’Namdi deliberately obfuscated information about the sale of Pindell’s work in order to deprive her of proper payments.

The suit alleges that the N’Namdis created a “maze of legal entities” in which “the finances of the various N’Namdi-controlled companies and tax-exempt charity are intermingled.” The alleged result was a series of “willfully misleading and inaccurate” accounts of Pindell’s sales and inventory, including steep discounts on her works not authorized by the artist, as well as delayed or altogether missing payments. The suit claims that the gallery “took advantage” of Pindell and other African-American artists who were underrepresented in art history at the time of their signing.

Peter D. Raymond, a lawyer for the N’Namdi family, told ARTNews:

Our clients have great respect for Ms. Pindell as an artist and are proud to have been able to help her with her career. However, while they are sorry that their relationship has come to this, they believe the claims in this lawsuit are meritless, and they intend to vigorously defend this case.

In addition to monetary damages, Pindell is seeking the return of 20 works allegedly still in the gallery’s possession, including the 12 works in her famed “Autobiography” series, as well as three works bought by the collector Arthur Primas, who allegedly bought Pindell’s work from the N’Namdis at a heavily-discounted price.

The N’Namdis faced a similar suit in 2005, when the wife of artist Al Loving claimed that the gallery was withholding payments or otherwise obfuscating details relating to sales of the artist’s work. The suit was settled in 2008.

Further Reading: At 76, Howardena Pindell Is Making Deeply Personal Paintings—and Gaining Overdue Acclaim

Justin Kamp
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