Meyer accuses Susan Seidel and Jaime Frankfort of duping him into buying the work. According to the suit, he was told that it would be included in an official catalog of Rothko paintings, which was then being compiled. He was also told that the seller’s family had acquired directly it from Rothko, and that it had been signed by Rothko.
“In fact, as Seidel knew, the Painting was not acquired directly or indirectly from Rothko by the seller’s family or by anyone else, and Rothko did not paint any part of it, never signed it or owned it, did not sell or transfer it to anyone and was entirely unaware of its existence,” the lawsuit states.
Meyer paid $900,000 for the work, plus a $45,000 commission, in March 2001. It has been hanging in his home ever since. According to the suit, he learned that it was a forgery in January of this year. It was never included in the official catalog of Rothko’s works.
The suit seeks compensation for the appreciation that would have occurred had the painting been genuine.
“Had defendants’ representations been true, as plaintiff reasonably believed until January 2019, the present value of the Painting would be at least $10 million,” the suit states. “Since the Painting is not genuine, it has virtually no value and never will.”
Meyer is represented by Bert Fields.