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Collector Sues Woodward Gallery For Allegedly Selling Fake Warhol Prints

According to Jake Russell of Courthouse News Service, collector Nira Levine filed a lawsuit on June 30 against New York–based Woodward Gallery, claiming that the Lower East Side space convinced her to invest in fake Andy Warhol prints from a series titled “Space Fruit,” 1979.

Her complaint states that she agreed to split the $180,000 cost of ninety prints with John and Kristine Woodward in October 2008. However, when Levine looked into the authenticity of the works in July 2014, she learned from a restorer’s condition report that the “Space Fruit” collection only consisted of seventy-six prints. Levine said that the paper looked significantly different from the one she was showed by the Woodwards and now suspects that they may have falsified the document. The Warhol Authentication Board also informed her that sixty-three of the works she had copurchased were fakes. When Levine asked the gallerists to produce receipts for the prints she was told that there were no invoices because they were bought directly from Warhol’s printer, who died in 2001.

Levine admitted that she never saw the works and trusted the Woodwards, with whom she has bought, invested in, and co-owned artworks since 2002. Now, the Oregon resident is concerned about the other works the gallery has sold to her. Over the years she has spent nearly $1 million on works such as Pablo Picasso’s Green Hair Woman, 1949. She is asking the court to order the gallery to disclose all documentation of acquisition and sale for the rest of the approximately 140 pieces of art that she jointly purchased with the Woodwards. Levine is also seeking a court order that John and Kristine Woodward each provide depositions on the purchases.

Kristine Woodward told the New York Post that the suit “has no merit.” She added, “The gallery has continued to have integrity in all that we do in the last twenty-three years.”