The New York Post
has the details of a strange and potentially juicy lawsuit between a New York collector and a man who claimed to be a representative of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
According to the report
, the collector Stuart Piver claims he was duped by an attorney named John McFadden into selling him a valuable bronze by Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi
, Mademoiselle Pogany II
, for $100,000. Apparently McFadden presented himself as a trustee and representative for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and was prepared to sell the work to the institution or through Christie’s. In order to do this, McFadden told Pivar, it would be “advantageous” if he was listed as the owner of the work.
Now, according to the report, McFadden is refusing to return the sculpture, claiming that he is its legal owner, despite paying just the $100,000 fee, when Brancusi sculptures have sold for more than $70 million at auction.
Pivar said he believed the fee he paid and the contract he signed were simply protocol, and that it was “necessary to consummate the sale to the museum”—but that the lawyer subsequently emailed him and said that after he signed that paper, “the deal was final,” and that “the sculpture would remain in (McFadden’s) possession forever.” Even though Pivar lined up “legitimate buyers” for the work, McFadden would not let him see it.
In retaliation, Pivar has filed a lawsuit, which does not state the value of the work itself, but is seeking $200 million in damages.
The Post quotes the five-page legal filing as saying: