Salander-O’Reilly has been a well-known name in the fine arts community for a while now. But the news isn’t getting any better for the gallery. On the surface, they have a first rate operation going on over there. (Not that they respond to my rights requests….) And yet, the gallery is the target of a crippling fusillade of lawsuits at the moment, as Bloomberg reports:

Lennox seeks to recover at least $4.6 million and $10 million in punitive damages. John McEnroe says in a May suit that Salander didn’t make good on a promise to double the tennis star’s $162,500 investment in five months. Former New York Observer Publisher Arthur Carter filed an August suit seeking more than $1.2 million for funds he says he’s owed.

Anthony Doniger, a Salander lawyer, said in an April court appearance regarding one suit that the dealer “has a liquidity crisis, there’s no question about it.” At least 15 lawsuits have been filed against the 31-year- old gallery in the past year, many of them naming Salander himself as a defendant

It’s kind of sad because the rest of the article goes on to highlight how a lot of these people either were or are his friends, and some really like Salander, calling him “well-intentioned,” but “addicted to buying.” I don’t know. The controversy is well-chronicled, here, by the Maine Antique Digest. Sounds like the guy needs a little “self-correction,” meaning the paying of debts, downsizing of operations, and rebuilding of Salander-O’Reilly.

As with so much in commerce, a gallery’s name and reputation may form a sizable part of the firm’s assets. How much will this harm the goodwill value of the name? Does tarnished goodwill value hurt galleries harder than firms in other industries?

(h/t Art Law Blog)

Advertisements