Collectors settle lawsuit over sale involving Cecily Brown painting – ARTnews.com

A lawsuit involving war allegations between two collectors over a $700,000 backstage sale of a Cecily Brown painting has been settled.

In a lawsuit filed in March 2021 in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, and detailed in a recent Bloomberg report, collector Michael Xufu Huang alleged that Federico Castro Debernardi violated the terms of a sales agreement involving the Brown table. Accusing Debernardi of “reputational damage,” Huang claimed $1.3 million.

On Wednesday, Wendy J. Lindstrom, an attorney for Huang, said ART news that the two collectors had agreed to settle the lawsuit. “This matter is the result of a misunderstanding, but they look forward to working together again in the future,” she said in a statement. Lindstrom declined to elaborate on the terms of the settlement, which has not yet been filed. A representative for Nikas confirmed the settlement is pending but declined to comment further.

According to exhibits filed with the lawsuit, Huang and Debernardi entered into an agreement regarding the Brown painting in 2019. Other exhibits filed during the court proceedings show that there were also agreements between Huang and Debernardi to help the purchase of works by Harold Ancart and Nicolas Party. . Under the terms of these agreements, Huang was to purchase certain works and then sell them to Debernardi, who was prohibited from reselling the pieces within three years and who was to keep Huang’s identity as the buyer secret.

Huang, whose X Museum in Beijing opened in 2020, is a regular fixture at international art fairs and other major art events and has amassed a collection of cutting-edge art from emerging artists including Lu Yang, Amalia Ulman, Gillian Wearing and Austin Lee. “Wherever I go in the world, I meet Michael who participates in professional art panels and events,” said Lisa Phillips, director of the New Museum, where Huang is a member of the International Leadership Council. ART news in 2017.

Like Huang, Debernardi has been considered a rising star in the art world in recent years. In 2017, Apollo put it on a “40 Under 40 Global” list, and last year it appeared on a “Next Gen Art Collectors” list compiled by Larry’s List. In 2016 he launched Fundación Arte, which Debernardi said he wanted to use to boost the reputation of the art scene in Argentina, where he was born.

Huang said Bloomberg, who first reported news from the lawsuit on Wednesday that he was trying to do Debernardi a “favor” by leveraging his influence to allow Debernardi access to the works. “So I have a lot more access to artists and galleries than Mr. Debernardi, who is not able to purchase art from them on his own,” Huang said in an affidavit.

From the exhibits, Huang appears to have purchased Brown’s painting in 2019 faeriefeller of the Paula Cooper Gallery during that year’s edition of Art Basel Miami Beach. Huang charged Debernardi $700,000 for the artwork, plus an additional $70,000 commission and $3,700 to fund his trip to the fair from China.

The trouble reportedly started when the Paula Cooper Gallery emailed Huang, saying the gallery had heard of Lévy Gorvy, who had been sold. faeriefeller. In a text conversation presented as an exhibit, Huang messages Debernardi, saying, “Like I’ve always been by your side and now you’re putting me on the front line for all this drama.” Debernardi responds, “Stop the drama.”

In another filing, Nikas fired back at Huang, who he called a “freaker”. Nikas was looking to move the deal to Monaco, where Debernardi is based.

“[Huang] immediately “returns” the artworks for its own benefit by selling them to undisclosed third-party collectors, whom it forces to agree to even more restrictive anti-competitive terms if they want access to the artworks, all to cover up and perpetuate its scheme illicit,” Nikas wrote. “And when his own wrongful conduct comes to light, he tries to pass on the losses of his wrongful conduct to the collectors he manipulated into agreeing to his illegal anti-competitive terms in the first place. That’s what it’s about. Plaintiff deserves no sympathy or remedy from this Court. “

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