Koenig, a leading art dealer with an eye for contemporary and avant-garde work, used his eponymous gallery in Collingwood and a later renowned space in Fitzroy to sell the work of most of the young emerging artists on consignment. Under the arrangement agreed upon by Koenig and the artists, the proceeds from sales were supposed to be split equally.
It seems that in some cases Koenig pocketed all the money and didn’t tell the artists that their work had been sold.
Merrett hopes that the exhibition of Koenig’s practices will be a warning to young artists trying to navigate the largely unregulated art world.
“The best thing is that other artists have contacted me saying ‘I am now billing my gallery which always bothers me with payments’,” she said. “We all face this constantly, it’s so frustrating. We are the last to be paid.
Cortright praised the revelations.
“It is disappointing that artists endure these experiences in the industry in general, and it is not uncommon,” she said. “It’s good to see investigative work on these practices which will hopefully shed light on many things artists endure under the golden lights of business.”
Rosa Riedl, Simchowitz’s Gold Coast-based mother-in-law, has been trying to locate Cortright’s missing works since March 2017, when Koenig held her exhibition at her Collingwood gallery.
Six works of art were shipped to Melbourne for the exhibition, all belonging to Simchowitz. Riedl says that after the exhibition, Koenig said that one of the works had sold but never provided payment.
Riedl says Simchowitz ultimately accepted a Ry David Bradley tapestry from Koenig in lieu of payment for the artwork sold and that two unsold works were returned in April of last year. She says they’re no closer to finding out where the three remaining missing works are.
The missing works are all unique prints which, at the time of the 2017 exhibition, were selling for a retail price of US $ 15,000. Riedl specifies that without an authentication certificate provided by the artist, they have almost no commercial value.
“There is someone who paid for three Petra Cortrights but they are worthless because they don’t have an authentication certificate,” Riedl said. “We are in a difficult situation; we have three paintings which are not classified as true works of Petra. “
Patrick Keyzer, Dean of the Australian Catholic University, works as a volunteer to help Simchowitz recover the missing works of Koenig. He said his client was still considering filing a damages claim against Koenig. “It’s pretty clear that there is a case to be answered,” he said.
A group of collectors who bought paintings by Koenig at the end of last year and did not receive the works have taken legal action in the district court. Collectors all brought paintings by Texan artist Jon Joanis.
Joanis confirmed Age and Sydney Morning Herald that he still had the paintings in his possession and that he was awaiting payment from Koenig to send them to the buyers.
The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court last week issued a warrant on behalf of three buyers, Michael Spooner, Helene Roberts and Andrew Strickland, to seize property for breach of contract.
The West Brunswick address given for Koenig in court documents is property owned by his wife and currently on the market. It went up for auction on Saturday.
Joanis, who was approached by Koenig to offer his paintings for sale at an art fair in New York, said he was shocked to learn that so many other artists were claiming that they were owed to them. money and that Koenig’s works were missing.
“All this time I thought Tristian was suffering from some sort of mental breakdown and I got the most of it. I didn’t know he was a model. ″