The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting on the current lawsuit between a collector, a dealer, an art consultant and Christie's auction house over an alleged fake Albert Tucker painting.
Click HERE to read the first AW post on this topic.
Source: Sydney Morning HeraldThe arrangements between auction houses and art consultants who advise wealthy clients on their art purchases are being laid bare in a Supreme Court case involving an alleged fake Albert Tucker which was sold by Christies in 1999.
Barrister Louise McBride is suing auction house Christies, her art consultant Vivienne Sharpe and another art dealer, Alex Holland, over her acquisition of the Tucker. No party is contending it is genuine.
Ms Sharpe, whom Ms McBride once regarded as a close friend, is also being sued over what Ms McBride says were secret commissions and bad advice given to her in 2009 and 2010 as she sought to dispose of her art collection during a financial crisis after her separation from advertising executive Greg Daniel.
Under cross examination, Ms McBride agreed that at a tearful meeting at Ms Sharpe's house on Scotland Island she was desperate and ''close to breaking point'' and asked Ms Sharpe for a way of selling the art quickly to placate the banks.
Ms McBride has alleged Ms Sharpe and her son Andrew advised her to sell a Jeffrey Smart painting through Menzies auction house using an agreement for a guaranteed sale price.
Instead of the usual commission being paid to the auction house, Menzies proposed to guarantee $300,000 for the sale of the work and to pay Ms McBride 40 per cent of the upside.
The remaining 60 per cent would, Ms McBride believed, go to Menzies.
Menzies had offered Ms Sharpe a 50/50 split of its 60 per cent upside. Ms Sharpe received $42,000.
Under cross examination, Ms McBride told the court she had believed Ms Sharpe was acting for free because she was a friend who was helping her with her serious financial predicament in 2010.
Her counsel, Francis Douglas, QC, has accused Ms Sharpe of having a conflict of interest because her undisclosed interest in the upside meant she had a motive to advise Ms McBride to take a lower guaranteed price.
Ms Sharpe, through her counsel, is strongly contesting she ever agreed to act for free and that she did significant work on the sale.
At about the same time, an expert at Sotheby's advised Ms McBride and Ms Sharpe there were serious doubts about the authenticity of the Tucker work.
Ms McBride also accuses Ms Sharpe of selling a Bronwyn Oliver sculpture too cheaply. The court heard how the sculpture had to be helicoptered in and out of Ms McBride's premises and how it was eventually sold for $300,000.
It was bought by Transfield director Luca Belgiorno-Nettis. Ms McBride says he offered to sell it back for $800,000, via Robyn Oxley. Ms Sharpe's lawyer disputed this account.