The mystery around the Untitled painting sold by Inigo Philbrick offered new revelations, but also further complicated the matter.
The ownership over the painting called Untitled, made by Rudolf Stinger, has been fiercely contested in the court of law. It was sold for $6.5 million in Christie’s May auction in New York. However, after the payment was not paid in full, it was kept under lock while a court case ensured over ownership. At the centre of this was art dealer Inigo Philbrick. Now, a fresh memorandum shreds some light on the matter.
The memorandum revealed that even though the case initially appeared to be a transaction made between Reuben Brothers and Philbrick, it was actually a loan made towards Philbrick. Attorney Judy Grossman said:
“That is the real story here of what is going on with all of these Inigo deals—there was a lot of easy money allowing him to perpetrate these frauds, not only from the Reubens but others as well.”
The memorandum was filed by Grossman who represents Alexander Pesco, another claimant of the work. The works (Untitled and two others) was promised to the Guzzini Properties (owned by Reuben Brothers) for $6 million, their actual value was closer to $25 million. The memorandum also included several exhibits to strengthen the claims of the party. These include emails between Pesco and Lisa Reuben from October this year. It also included an invoice of $3.35 million made in Jan 2016 to Inigo Philbrick to acquire half ownership of the work.
The legal battle is also all the more complicated as the Reubens didn’t file a case against Inigo Philbrick, but the painting itself. If come to conclusion, the case would set a precedent for artworks to be a defendant in legal matters.