Wednesday, July 16, 2008

NYT on disputes over art auctions at sea

According to the story, there are pending claims against the auction house for false advertising and unfair trade practices; also of note is that the auction house sued a persistent internet critic for defamation. The claims and counterclaims fly indignantly and the reporter's relish in reporting these conflicts is evident:

Park West’s suit against Fine Art Registry revolves in part around the Web site’s allegations that the company’s Dalí prints are inauthentic. The suit quotes, for example, a Fine Art Registry interview in which Mr. Hochman said of the signatures on these pieces: “They’re all the same. And we feel they’re done with an auto pencil device.”

Mr. Scaglione called those assertions “bogus.” He cited the credentials of his Dalí appraiser, Bernard Ewell, and described his Dalí material as “perfectly” authenticated — “our documentation is sometimes five or six inches thick.”

When asked about the Dalí expert Mr. Field’s exclusion of certain “Divine Comedy” prints with pencil signatures, Mr. Scaglione said, “That man was so senile at the end of his life, it’s insane.” (Mr. Field died in 1998, two years after the catalog was published.)

Mr. Scaglione also dismissed Mr. Field’s “official” catalog as “the most unofficial thing you can imagine,” adding that there are “150 well-known fakes in that book” that are presented as authentic.

Frank Hunter, Mr. Field’s successor at the Salvador Dalí Archives in New York, countered indignantly in a telephone interview, “That is absurd,” adding with emphasis, “I’d like him to show me one.”

So exactly how much emphasis do you have to use to get a NYT reporter to use italics in your quote?

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