FPU prof tied to fake art scheme

  • court/crime

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 6:42PM
TIMELINE2003: Andrew Hall begins purchasing paintings by Leon GolubSept. 23, 2009: Hall purchases his first alleged counterfeit Golub painting from the Gascards via auctionJanuary 2011: Hall begins working with the Gascards directlyOctober 2011: Hall purc

A former Franklin Pierce University professor and her son have been accused of selling almost $700,000 worth of counterfeit paintings to a well-known art collector, according to court documents.

A lawsuit recently filed in the U.S. District Court, New Hampshire, alleges that Lorettann Gascard, a former art history professor at FPU and director of the university’s art gallery, and her adult son Nikolas, sold 24 counterfeit Leon Golub paintings to collector Andrew Hall over a two-year period. Hall, a Florida resident, has built a career in oil trading and hedge fund management.

“Hall has been damaged thereby in an amount to be determined at trial, but in no event less than the $676,250 purchase price for the challenged works, as well as the costs expended by Hall in discovering that the Challenged Works were forged, and attorney’s fees,” read the complaint filed by Hall’s attorneys, Samantha D. Elliot and Ted Poretz.

Hall, who collects postwar and contemporary art, began collecting the works of Leon Golub in 2003, according to court documents. Hall had acquired about 40 of his works by 2009.

Hall’s first experience with the Gascards was in September of 2009, when he purchased a piece through auction. At the time, the piece was said to have been “acquired directly from the artist by the present owner” and brought to auction by the Gascards.

Hall purchased six more paintings from the Gascards via auction through March 2011. By January 2011, Hall and/or his agent began dealing directly with the Gascards. All in all, Hall purchased 24 paintings directly or through auction from the Gascards, according to court documents.

In November 2014, Hall, through the Hall Art Foundation, an organization founded by Hall and his wife Christine, began to plan an exhibit of his Golub collection, which totaled over 60 paintings.

Golub, an artist, activist, writer, and teacher died in 2004. His work was featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He specialized in expressive figurative paintings.

When Hall’s foundation asked the provenance of the paintings, the Gascards said the works were either gifts or purchases from Golub, and that they had a personal relationship with the artist.

In preparation for the exhibit, which was due to open in early May of 2015, the Hall Foundation contacted Nancy Spero and Leon Golub Foundation for the Arts to confirm the dates and titles of the works that would be exhibited.

During this process, the Golub Foundation raised red flags about “virtually all” of the works acquired from the Gascards, as there was no record of the paintings in the Golub Foundation’s inventory.

Golub’s son, professor Stephen Golub, emailed the Hall Foundation on March 28, 2015, saying that in addition to the works being “problematic,” neither he nor his brother had a recollection of meeting or hearing of Gascard.

“Our parents, and Leon in particular, were quite gregarious and their friends frequently came to our residence for dinner, so it’s surprising that we have never heard of Gascard,” read the email.

The complaint filed with the court alleges that the Hall Art Foundation began seeking Gascard’s assistance to prove the genuineness of the challenged works.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Gascards have yet to respond to Hall’s lawsuit.

FPU lawsuit

While a spokesperson at Franklin Pierce University has confirmed that Gascard is no longer employed with the school, no further information was provided.

Gascard had been employed with the university from 1997 at least through December of 2014, according to court documents.

In May of 2014, Gascard had filed a lawsuit against the university, alleging various forms of employment discrimination.

Court documents allege that university administration discriminated against her based on age and gender and bullied her during departmental meetings. Documents also allege that the university did not accommodate symptoms of her situational stress.

As of June 12, 2015, the court case has been terminated, according to court documents.

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.