No trace of art-selling duo

  • court/crime

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/27/2016 7:30:02 AM

A former Franklin Pierce University professor and her son – accused of selling almost $700,000 worth of counterfeit paintings – have yet to be found, according to officials investigating the case.

In a recently filed and granted motion through his attorneys, Andrew Hall requested to serve Lorettann and Nikolas Gascard by publication and by email, as multiple attempts have been made to find the Gascards, who remain at-large.

“In light of Plaintiff’s inability to locate the defendants to serve them in hand, and their awareness of the litigation and its coverage in the press, Plaintiff seeks leave to serve the defendants by publication,” read the motion. “In addition, Plaintiff seeks leave to attempt service via email to ldgascard@yahoo.com.”

Magistrate Judge Andrea K. Johnstone granted Hall’s motion, provided an effort is first made to obtain a current mailing address for the Gascards through a known email address. If there is no response after 10 days from the date of an email sent, service by publication is granted.

A lawsuit filed in September 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 and is a well-known art collector.

In the motion to permit service by publication and by email, Hall’s legal team outlined a number of ways they have tried to contact the Gascards, including visiting their last known addresses. Members of the Sheriff’s Department first attempted to find the Gascards at their last known addresses – Lorettann in Rindge and Nikolas in Peterborough – but neither defendant was located. Hall’s counsel received a tip that Nikolas may be residing in Worcester, Massachusetts, but were unable to find him.

On Nov. 8, Hall hired Charles McLaughlin, a private investigator, to locate and serve the Gascards. McLaughlin ran a number of subscription-database searches to scan for financial, social media, and business activity, and was unable to locate the Gascards or any leads regarding their current location.

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. Paintings purchased from the Gascards were purchased between 2009 and 2014.

Questions of the paintings’ validity came in November 2014 when 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. Eventually Hall reached out to the Golub Foundation, and red flags were raised about “virtually all” of the works sold by the Gascards, according to court documents.

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.

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


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