Ron Perelman. Copyright © 2014 Patrick McMullan Company

Ron Perelman. Photo: © 2014 Patrick McMullan Company

Ron Perelman vs. the Whole “Ugly” Art Market

Since billionaire Ronald Perelman sued Larry Gagosian, and vice versa, the two have been quiet about their legal scuffle, until now.

“Art is such a beautiful thing, But it’s been sullied by an ugly business. It needs to be fixed.”

The leveraged buyout artist sued Gagosian and his gallery in September 2012 claiming that they took advantage of him, hid crucial information, and distorted prices, and that Perelman lost money in a chain of transactions involving nearly a dozen works of art and more than $45 million. At the heart of the suit was the value of Jeff Koon’s Popeye, an unfinished sculpture that Perelman purchased from the dealer for $4 million. Also at issue is the worth of eight more works that Perelman used to partly pay for a Cy Twombly painting and a  Richard Serra sculpture.

While Gagosian did not speak for the above article, his lawyer Matthew S. Dontzin said in a statement that Perelman’s “disingenuous claims that he is a crusader are nothing more than a cover for the fact that he is a notorious bully with a well-known history of filing meritless litigations, who once again won’t pay what’s owed.”

In August, in relation to the case,  Perelman subpoenaed Jose Mugrabi, along with his sons Alberto and David. The Mugrabis are a family of collectors and art dealers who have had dealings with Gagosian over the years.

Perelman has also subpoenaed auction houses Sotheby’s and Phillips, and has enlisted the help of a former F.B.I. agent with some art world savvy to question collectors and dealers.

Perelman and Gagosian had been friends for some 20 years, had been guests in each others’ homes, and had invested together in an East Hampton restaurant. Though Gagosian helped Perelman amass an extensive collection of postwar and contemporary art, and Perelman once called him “the most charming guy in the world,” Perelman now aims to expose the art world’s “dirty” underbelly.


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  1. Oh lala … In Australia no artist would dare to sue an art dealer because he/she would be instantly ostracised and finished.
    Australia in that regard is a paradise for conman !

    1. Dear Artist in Australia,

      Yes I agree with you. What is amazing is that this Billionare is spending his own money in lawsuits to finally EXPOSE THAT THE entire art world is so corrupt and being used in 2 ways: 1. for the 1% to hide their wealth into moveable assets that can be hidden around the world to avoid taxation for which the wise have so kindly once again figured out how to make money off of corruption by turning their WWII bunkers into art storage vaults ands 2. their intent is to enslave us all as fast as they can. There has never been such a concentration of wealth that has occurred in the fists of so few as has occurred in the last ten years other than in the Renaissance of Duerer’s time. The Apocalypse HAS begun

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