There is much more to ‘art crime’ than traditional theft. Artists are often the victim when disreputable dealers accept works of art on consignment and then fail to pay the artist or return his or her work.
In 1994, artist Kenneth Denton consigned 32 works of art to a gallery in Maryland (USA). The dealer paid Denton for the sale of five works (after deducting his commission) and never paid him again. He claimed that he sent the remaining 27 works to another gallery in Chicago but this could not be verified.
Then, in 2010, three Denton works appeared for sale at Freeman’s in Philadelphia. As it turned out, the consignor of 2 of these paintings turned out to be…you guessed it…the dealer from Maryland. Caught red handed, the dealer was forced to release his claim to the 2 works and the third was recovered from a second consignor. Chris Marinello handled the negotiations with the consignors’ respective lawyers. The lawyer for the Maryland dealer claimed his client was “overweight, broke, and inflicted with diabetes” and that his gallery would soon close. It DID close but only to move to another part of Maryland.