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Two Lawsuits in Knoedler Forgery Case Go to Trial

After the Knoedler Gallery and its former director Ann Freedman settled three lawsuits that were filed against them in an ongoing forgery case involving multiple suits, Graham Bowley reports in the New York Times that two more lawsuits against the gallery are set to go to trial in January due to the “ample circumstantial evidence” with which a jury can decide whether Freedman knew that some of the paintings she was selling were fake. A federal judge passed down the ruling on Friday.

According to the court papers, before its closure in 2011 Knoedler sold thirty-two forgeries over fifteen years, among which included fake works by painters like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Robert Motherwell. The paintings were done by a man in Queens and brought to the gallery by the Long Island dealer Glafira Rosales, who pled guilty to charges related to the fraud back in 2013. The gallery and Freedman have repeatedly claimed they were misled by Rosales and thought the art was genuine. But the judge for the two cases that will go to trial, Paul G. Gardephe of United States District Court in Manhattan, has stated that the “plaintiffs have offered ample circumstantial evidence demonstrating that Freedman acted with fraudulent intent and understood that the Rosales Paintings were not authentic.” One excerpt from the inventory of evidence that he cites includes changes in Rosales’s account of how she came to possess the paintings, wherein she claimed they were all owned by a collector dubbed “Mr. X,” whose identity the gallery was never apprised of.