Gumowitz v. Wildenstein
Gumowitz v. Wildenstein & Co., No. 10229-92 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1992).
This case illustrates the complications that may arise when scholarly differences of opinion regarding an artwork’sauthenticity impact its marketability. A central issue here was when and under what circumstances the scholarly expression of doubt as to authenticity constitutes tortious interference if a sale is in process.
A New York gallery, backed byexpert opinion, sold a painting to Anne and Arnold Gumowitz as a genuine Seurat. Four years later, the Gumowitzes contracted to sell the painting to a dealer, who backed out of the sale after hearing that a curator for an upcoming museum Seurat exhibition harbored doubts as to the painting’s authenticity. The painting was therefore not included in the exhibit. Unable either to return or sell the painting, the owners filed suit against the gallery from which they purchased the painting, dealer who backed out of the sale, and the museum and its curator.