Sunday, 6 September 2020

Attempt to Sue Ariadne Galleries over ‘forged’ mosaics

Mr Demirjian in 2015

There are a lot of faked antiquities around on the market, and it seems even the 'high end' are not above suspicion of handling them, as an unfolding case suggests (Tristan Kirk, 'Sheikh who entertained Queen sues gallery over ‘forged’ mosaics' The Evening Standard 4th September 2020)
A member of the Qatari royal family has accused an art gallery of selling two mosaics worth almost £300,000 which later allegedly turned out to be fakes. His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al Thani is locked in a High Court dispute with Ariadne Galleries over the two sales which date back to December 2013 and July 2014. Legal papers lodged reveal the art firm — which has galleries in Mayfair and New York — is being sued for alleged breach of contract and misrepresentation over the sales. The claim concerns the sale of mosaics named "Cupids At The Grape Harvest" and "Eros Hunting With A Stag". The writ states: “Both mosaics are inauthentic and/or forgeries. They were purchased for $200,000 and $150,000 respectively, equating to a total purchase price of $350,000.”
It is not stated on what grounds the inauthenticity of the items in question is claimed, and it remains to be seen whether that accusation will stand up in court. I could not find online pictures of these mosaics, possibly the Gallery used them in a 2013/14 catalogue.The legal challenge to Ariadne Galleries is being brought primarily by the Qatar Investment and Projects Development Holding Company (Qipco) of which the Sheikh, a cousin of the Emir of Qatar, is chief executive. The Sheikh is listed as the second claimant. The Al Thani family is very active in the art-buying world.  Ariadne Gallery is a family-run business with locations in New York and London and specializing in the art of the ancient civilizations of Egypt, the Near East, Greece, Rome, Asia, and early medieval Europe. Its founder and current chairman is Torkom Demirjian.

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