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Frank Bowling sues Hales Gallery for non-payment

Earlier this month, artist Frank Bowling filed a legal claim in the London High Court against the Hales Gallery. He alleged that the gallery owes him a significant amount of money, as well as withholding many of his works.

The Hales Gallery started representing Bowling in 2011. Bowling terminated his association with the gallery in October last year after alleging serious breaches in his contract. He filed a legal claim in London on August 18. The claim said that the gallery owes him $2.4 million from the sale of his works. The claim also alleged that the gallery withholds more than 100 works of Bowling in New York and London. However, it did not specify the names of the works which are being withheld. 

A Frank Bowling work at the
A Frank Bowling work at the artist’s recent Tate Britiain survey

Bowling’s lawyer, Tim Bignell, said in the claim that the gallery had consistently denied Bowling’s claim in its entirety. While talking to the press, Bowling said:

“The feeling that they had taken advantage of me is reinforced by the extraordinary demands they are now making for vast sums of money, while holding to ransom my own paintings. I’ve been a practicing artist for more than sixty years, and while I am grateful to all those who have supported me in my journey to recognition, my art works and personal toil speak for my success.”

The Hales Gallery is one of the premier art galleries in London and also has an office in New York. After Bowling filed the claim, the gallery accused Bowling’s family of harming his relationship with the gallery. They also alleged that Bowling’s family is trying to “co-opt his legacy”. 

Frank Bowling was born in 1937 in British Guiana. His semi-abstract works are known for their themes on colonialism. Perhaps his most well-known work is the “Map Paintings” series he made in the 60s and 70s. Bowling’s works came back into public notice after the 2017 Tate Modern show “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963 – 1983” which continues to exhibit in galleries like Haus der Kunst and Tate Britain.