Newly submitted documents related to two pending lawsuits against art adviser Lisa Schiff reveal that a range of collectors and galleries have also filed claims against her, some for nearly $1 million.
It has been widely reported that New York–based collector Candace Carmel Barasch had taken legal action against Schiff, beginning in May, in two separate lawsuits, in which Barasch claimed that she had been defrauded by Schiff. In one of those suits, Barasch alleged that she had provided $6.6 million to Schiff for the purchases of artworks; those pieces never came in, Barasch claimed, because Schiff had diverted the funds. In the other, Barasch and collector Richard Grossman accused Schiff of still owing them $1.8 million in relation to the private sale of an Adrian Ghenie painting at Sotheby’s.
But a document filed on August 11 by Douglas J. Pick, the person Schiff appointed to liquidate her firm, shows that they are not the only ones who have pending claims against Schiff. The others include the director of sales at London’s Stephen Friedman Gallery and Sotheby’s private sales department, both for amounts that were not disclosed. The artist Seffa Klein, who had an exhibition at Schiff’s SFA Art Advisory prior to its closure, has also filed a claim for $506,200.50.
Thomas Hagerty, the managing directory of the private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners, and his wife Jeanne filed a claim for “at least $990,000,” and Brian and Karen Conway, who have galleries named after them at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, where Karen is a trustee, filed a claim for “not less than $611,500.00.”
Whereas the details of the Barasch claim are known because of the lawsuits she filed, the details of these claims are not known because they went unspecified.
Yet other documents filed this month did reveal other specifics related to Schiff that were previously unknown—including the many artworks that are allegedly still missing.
According to the Winston Art Group, the advisory firm selected by Pick to inventory Schiff’s company, there are 108 artworks whose whereabouts are still unknown by artists such as Damien Hirst, Richard Prince, Virgil Abloh, Jana Euler, Alex Israel, Joel Mesler, Ugo Rondinone, Julie Mehretu, and Lisa Edelstein, an actress who has previously produced art and is a friend of Schiff.
It is worth noting that many of these works are works on paper or editioned objects, meaning that their individual values are likely far lower than unique artworks like the Ghenie painting in the Barasch lawsuit. However, the Winston Art Group pegged their collective value at $1.13 million.
The Winston Art Group also filed another document in which it said there was more than $3 million worth of artworks that were still being held by Schiff. Among the 894 works allegedly in her possession were ones by artists ranging from Jeffrey Gibson to DIS to Laura Owens to Wade Guyton.
The Baer Faxt newsletter first reported news of the newly filed documents on Thursday.