corot lost in a drunken haze – or not? – the latest news

2 September 2010 § Leave a comment

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The New York News yesterday reported the loss of an £850k Corot painting. A intermediary supposedly lost the painting after a drunken night out. But did he? Here is the story as reported in the New York News:

The artwork’s co-owner, Kristyn Trudgeon, isn’t buying James Haggerty’s tale. “I think he’s a complete fumbling idiot,” a visibly annoyed Trudgeon said outside her West Side apartment. “He’s just a complete a–hole.” Trudgeon and Tom Doyle, who co-own the painting, had hired Haggerty, an old pal, to assist with a possible sale of “Portrait of a Girl” to London gallery owner Offer Waterman. A July 28 afternoon appointment in Doyle’s Empire State Building office fell apart when the Brit wanted a closer look at the painting.

The men agreed to meet later at midtown bistro Rue 57 with Doyle,who then ordered Haggerty to take the painting to The Mark, which is on the upper East Side, for further inspection by Waterman.[…]  At 11:30 p.m., the two men left the bar, retrieved the painting and had a conversation in the hotel lobby, court papers say. “Something just didn’t feel right and I didn’t want to be involved,” Waterman said. “So I said no, and I said goodbye.”

Call me a sceptic but it is a familiar tale seen with used cars and dodgy antiques amongst others.  Let me describe the familiar tale. A supposedly highly valuable object (insert any dodgy item here)  is hawked around. There is little interest and there are no takers. Could it be because it quite simply is not worth it/fake/stolen (again insert appropriate alternative)? The sellers need to find a way to get their money having failed to dupe a buyer. The answer of course is a convenient theft/loss/destruction of the overpriced goods. Result – an insurance claim.

I am of course not suggesting that this is definitely the case here, as the painting has hung in an LA museum and seems to be a genuine Corot, but I look forward to seeing the result of the case and any further developments. There is also the strange question that only one of the two (or more?) owners is suing – and she is claiming from the seller and not insurance company. But there is something we are not hearing here, after all would you – even after a few bevvies – walk around downtown NY at night with something over a million dollars under your arm? No, I didn’t think so!

STOP PRESS

Having written this ready for posting I read that the co-owner, who was not prosecuting, turns out to be a convicted art thief. The case has been dropped. For the full, complex, story click here!!

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