Estate Of Famous Modern Artist Loses Fraud Lawsuit

Alexander Calder was a modern artist best know for popularizing mobiles as artwork (you can see examples of his pieces here), and Calder was rare in that he was an artist who achieved great financial success through his art.

When he died in 1976, Calder’s pieces were selling for millions of dollars. Museums and art collectors continue to pay top dollar for them today.  In 2010, Calder’s family members, acting on behalf of his estate, filed a lawsuit against his longtime art dealer Klaus Perls alleging that he systematically defrauded Calder and his heirs by withholding millions from the sale of Calder’s artwork.

On Dec. 24, 2013, a judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying that the representatives of Calder’s estate failed to show that Perls sold Calder’s artwork without the knowledge of Calder’s heirs.

This case is a great example of estates that can remain complex for many years.  Especially when an artist, musician, or the like has art or music that may generate residual benefits to their heirs, the estate may have ongoing interests for many years that may need to be collected.  These issues can be very complex and can often result in litigation to collect the estate’s interest in these assets.

For a more comprehensive understanding of complex estate issues, we invite you to contact us and schedule a consultation. We would be happy to advocate your interests.