Pryor Cashman Obtains Preliminary Injunction in Case Involving "Lost" Roy Lichtenstein PaintingThe New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post
Pryor Cashman, on behalf of client Barbara Castelli, successfully obtained a restraining order in her dispute regarding the ownership of the Roy Lichtenstein painting Electric Cord, thought to have been lost 42 years ago.
Leo Castelli purchased Electric Cord, a painting of a tightly wrapped electric cord, in the 1960s. In January 1970 he sent the piece out to be professionally cleaned, but instead of returning the painting, the restorer told Castelli the artwork had been lost.
Castelli died in 1997 and the fate of the painting was a mystery until last week when James Goodman, the owner of James Goodman Gallery, telephoned the Lichtenstein Foundation to report that he had been told by a “third party” that the painting was in an art storage warehouse in New York City and asked if they would authenticate the work.
A representative for the foundation alerted Castelli’s widow, Barbara Castelli, who, through Pryor Cashman, sought a restraining order barring the estimated $4 million painting from being moved, stating she is “deeply concerned about the possibility of the artwork again disappearing, perhaps to never be seen again.”
On July 31, 2012, Justice O. Peter Sherwood of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, granted Pryor Cashman’s application for a temporary restraining order, freezing the painting’s location pending the results of a court hearing. On August 2, 2012, the Court converted the TRO to a preliminary injunction.
Pryor Cashman Litigation Partner Perry Amsellem, with assistance from Counsel Benjamin Semel, is representing Castelli in the proceedings.
The case, Castelli v. Hayes NY Business LLC d/b/a Hayes Storage Warehouse et al., has received widespread press coverage. To read the articles from several publications, including The New York Times, New York Daily News and New York Post, please click here.
Pryor Cashman’s Art Group represents artists, museums, foundations, galleries, and purchasers, sellers and consignors of art in a variety of legal matters, including litigation, governance issues involving museums and foundations, estate and tax planning, insurance, licensing and other transactional work. Partners Perry Amsellem, James Janowitz and William Charron, all members of the group, have handled several high profile and important cases with regard to claims of stolen artwork. To read more about those cases and the Art Group’s other successful representations, please click here.