Art Market

A judge ordered an artist to pay $3,000 to a gallerist he ranted about on Facebook.

Benjamin Sutton
Apr 1, 2019 7:16PM, via CTV News

Photo by wp paarz, via Flickr.

A Canadian artist’s Facebook screed about a gallery owner ended up costing the artist more than the overdue payment he claimed he was owed. A Canadian judge ordered artist Ryan Livingstone to pay Fredericton-based art dealer Ingrid Mueller $C 2,950 (about $US 2,210) for posting a comment on Facebook that accused her of being a thief and “a dishonest and unethical gallery owner,” according to a court document quoted by CTV News.

The artist claimed in his December 2014 post that Mueller had failed to pay him for the sale of a $C 4,000 ($US 3,000) sculpture in December 2013; Livingstone eventually filed a complaint in small-claims court and was awarded $C 759.60 ($US 569). However, Mueller subsequently sued Livingstone for defamation, claiming that the artist’s Facebook rant was intended to hurt her business.

In her ruling last month, quoted by CTV news, Justice Judy Clendening wrote:

In December of 2014 apparently Mr. Livingstone had reached a point where he felt it was important to inform other artists that Ms. Mueller did not live up to her promises. However, Mr. Livingstone went beyond simply informing other artists of this unfortunate circumstance and he did defame Ms. Mueller.

Mueller had originally sought damages of $C 25,000 to $C 50,000 ($US 18,700–37,400), which Justice Clendening deemed excessive.

Further Reading: 6 Keys to a Good Artist-Gallerist Relationship

Benjamin Sutton