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Knoedler's Art Forgery Scandal on Film

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 12:04
"Driven to Distraction" documents the $80 million forgery scandal that brought down Knoedler & Co., New York's oldest art gallery.

Since the start of the shutdown, the Fest Favorite series of Hamptons Doc Fest has been making memorable documentaries and interviews with filmmakers available for online viewing through its website.

New this week is “Driven to Abstraction,” Daria Price’s documentary about the $80 million forgery scandal that stunned the art world and led to the collapse of Knoedler & Co., which had operated in Manhattan since 1846.

After Ann Freedman, the gallery’s president, resigned in 2009, it was discovered that since 1994 the gallery had sold forged paintings of works by Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko, among others. Ms. Freedman had purchased the paintings for Knoedler from Glafira Rosales, who had in turn obtained the fakes from the forger.

The film asks whether the director was the victim of a con artist who had a stockpile of previously unseen Abstract Expressionist masterpieces, or whether she eventually suspected their inauthenticity yet continued to sell them. The gallery closed in 2011.

Among the many films still available through the festival’s website are “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am,” “Spielberg,” “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” “Jane Fonda in Five Acts,” “Free Solo,” and “What Happened, Miss Simone?”


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