Former Knoedler & Co. President Files Defamation Suit

Ann Freedman, the former president of New York–based Knoedler Gallery, has filed a defamation suit against Manhattan art dealer Marco Grassi, reports Jennifer Maloney of the Wall Street Journal. Freedman was president of Knoedler until 2009 before it closed around the time allegations surfaced that it had sold fakes attributed to Abstract Expressionists including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko. In the lawsuit, which was filed in New York State Supreme Court on Wednesday, Freedman targets Grassi’s quote in a New York Magazine article that says of Freedman: “A gallery person has an absolute responsibility to do due diligence, and I don't think she did it. The story of the paintings is so totally kooky. I mean, really. It was a great story and she just said, ‘this is great.’ ” Freedman goes on to list twenty experts she says told her that the works were real, including curators from the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. In many cases, however, the opinions she gathered were informal rather than official authentications, notes Maloney: A curator at the National Gallery called two works “beautiful,” and a Guggenheim curator borrowed one for an exhibition, according to the suit.