Basquait siblings sues Christie's over auction

March 4, 2014 at 4:50 PM
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NEW YORK, March 4 (UPI) -- Siblings of the late New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat sued Christie's auction house Tuesday, claiming a pending sale may be full of fakes.

The $1 million lawsuit filed by sisters Jeanine Basquiat Henveaux and Lisan Basquiat said only seven pieces of the 40-piece collection from Basquiat's former lover Alexis Adler were presented to the estate's authentication committee -- and one was rejected, the New York Post reported.

"If the items in the catalog are not authenticated, they are virtually worthless," the sisters and executors said in their federal lawsuit.

James Cinque, the estate's attorney, said the family believes Basquiat lived with Adler in the East Village for a while between 1979 and 1980 but that the couple's friends did much of the work being auctioned off as Basquiat originals.

"I'd like to know why Christie's is attempting to sell these," Cinque said.

The suit alleges Christie's used language in its catalog claiming the works were copyrighted by Basquiat's estate, which could potentially "deceive and confuse" possible buyers into believing the estate approved the sale, the Post said.

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