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Sotheby’s Awarded $2 million in Dispute Over Keith Haring Sale

The New York state court in Manhattan has ordered New York–based art dealer Anatole Shagalov to pay $2 million to Sotheby’s following a legal battle over a ten-foot Keith Haring painting purchased by the dealer at an auction in May 2017, reports the Art Newspaper. Shagalov, who runs Nature Morte gallery in Great Neck, New York, was taken to court by the auction house in an attempt to recoup the difference after the dealer refused to honor a record $6.5 million bid, leading Sotheby’s to resell the work to the guarantor for $4.4 million that October.

Shagalov’s defense had disputed the charges on the grounds that the demand for payment in full violated a special arrangement between the defendant and the auction house’s then chief operating officer, Adam Chinn, who had verbally agreed that the debt would be paid in installments. The court found no evidence of any such extended payment plan. Shagalov alleged that he had been attempting to find a buyer for the work and claimed that Sotheby’s rushed its October 2018 resale, resulting in a failure to secure the Haring work’s full price.

This nonpayment suit is one of several faced by Shagalov, who is currently being sued by Phillips for bids on works by Morris Louis and Christopher Wool amounting to $6 million.

The court has currently awarded Sotheby’s about $1.5 million in damages, though this number is expected to rise to $2 million once additional damages have been determined. According to his lawyer, Rikk Stone, Shagalov intends to appeal the decision.