One of the more interesting cases in the art world concerns claims made against the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Estate of Andy Warhol, among other parties, for violations of state and federal antitrust laws. 

The case, which is styled as a class-action, alleges that defendants conspired to control the market for Warhol works by exerting “complete control over the authentication of Warhol artwork by virtue of the Board’s status as sole recognized authentication authority for Warhol works and the Foundation’s publication of an official catalogue of Warhol works,” and by allegedly denying “the authenticity of works that were previously owned by the Estate and stamped with serial numbers from the Estate” for the purpose of allegedly causing a scarcity in the market for Warhol artwork and to inflate the value of the Warhol works in the Foundation’s possession.

Reviewing the defendants’ motion to dismiss (See Simon-Whelan v. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., ___ F.Supp.2d ___ (S.D.N.Y. May 26, 2009) [Slip Opn., at 1-2], the District Court found that the allegations in the complaint sufficiently satisfied the plausibility standard set forth in Twombly to defeat the motion to dismiss, and that the plaintiff adequately alleged an antitrust injury. 

In addition, the District Court also denied the motion to dismiss with respect to  plaintiff’s claim that he Board “fraudulently denied the authenticity” of a Warhol painting known as Double Denied, which the plaintiff had originally purchased for $195,000.

On or about June 23, 2009, the parties filed an Amended Joint Preliminary Pre-Trial Statement which would indicate, at a minimum, that any settlement of the claims has not been finalized and the case may go to trial.  The matter has been assigned to Judge Laura Taylor Swain.  

More information about the case can be found in this 2007 article from the New York Times.