A European art buyer has sued ABA Gallery and its owner, Anatoly Bekkerman, of selling $6.5 million in fake and overvalued paintings by Russian artists (via Artinfo).The suit, filed in federal court Friday by a company in Luxembourg, saying Bekkerman had persuaded it to buy four paintings that were forged and 14 more that were “of substantially lesser value than Bekkerman had represented,” according to Courthouse News Service.
The works at issue include a $4 million oil painting by Ivan Aivazovsky called “Seascape with Peter the Great,” which the Luxembourg company says was worth only $800,000.
Although they are not named in the complaint, two members of Sotheby’s Russian art department are also accused of helping Bekkerman carry out the fraud. They are Regina Abramovich, a consultant to the Private Client Group and Sonya Bekkerman, Bekkerman’s daughter, a senior vice president of Russian paintings at Sotheby’s, according to Courthouse News Service.
Abramovich’s parents, Michael and Sorina Abramovich, “wealthy former residents of Russia, currently residing in Paris,” are also allegedly involved in the scheme, CNS reports.
ABA, on East 17th Street, has specialised in 19th and 20th century Russian Art for over 30 years, according to the company’s website.
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