One and J Gallery (South Korea) is alleging that Christie’s has done, what can best be described as, a “bargain-basement sale” of a Francis Bacon. According to the court documents, One and J consigned an unnamed Francis Bacon painting to the auction house to be sold privately, and as collateral for a loan of $4.9 million. One and J are claiming that the painting, originally valued at $10 million, was sold by the auction house for far less than its true market value to two high profile clients – Christophe van de Weghe and David Rogath. It has also been alleged that van de Weghe and Rogath were interested in buying works in an upcoming auction and the preferred price for the Bacon was used to entice them to bid. Reports also state that One and J offered to pay $6.8 million for their Bacon (which was more than van de Weghe and Rogath were paying) and that the proceeds from an Andy Warhol they consigned for an upcoming sale would be used to repay their loan — Christie’s declined their offer.
In September, Christie’s notified One and J that they were in default of their loan and auction house was entitled to sell the Bacon “under any terms, at any time, as we see fit.” What is interesting is that it took them about two weeks to find a buyer at the reduced price.
On January 4, 2019, One and J filed suit against van de Weghe and Rogath. Christie’s spokeswoman Lara Messerlian stated that “Christie’s sale of the collateralized painting (Bacon) at fair market value was an appropriate remedy after years of non-payment, defaults, and months-late payments on interest-bearing advance agreements,”. A judge signed off on a standstill order — so it seems that a settlement might be in the works.
Gotta love these backroom deals!