Florida Pastor Sentenced following Conviction for Attempting to Sell Fake Damien Hirst Painting
UPDATE: According to the New York Times:
Justice Bonnie G. Wittner of State Supreme Court in Manhattan said a jail sentence was warranted because the pastor, Kevin Sutherland, had chosen to sell the works to a person he believed was a New York collector shortly after the Sotheby’s auction house said one of the paintings could not be authenticated.
“Here he had a choice, and he made the wrong choice,” the judge said. “He could easily have rectified it in the right way.”
Prosecutors said Mr. Sutherland had not only tried to rid himself of paintings he knew were forged, but tried to sell them at a profit. They asked for a prison sentence of between one and three years.
“This crime was motivated by greed,” said Rachel Hochhauser, an assistant district attorney. “He did more than try to pass on his financial loss. He tried to get a windfall from it.”
ORIGINAL POST: Well … that didn’t go as planned.
A Florida pastor arrested for trying to sell a fake Damien Hirst spin painting through Sotheby’s has been indicted in New York, according to Zoë Lescaze at GalleristNY:
Kevin Sutherland, the Florida pastor who was arrested last month for allegedly attempting to sell counterfeit work by artist Damien Hirst, has been indicted, according to an announcement today from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. The defendant was charged with attempted grand larceny in the second degree after bringing a piece he claimed was a spin painting by Mr. Hirst to Sotheby’s. The auction house determined that the signature on the back of the work, which would have been worth thousands of dollars if authentic, did not match that of the artist. Mr. Sutherland also reportedly attempted to sell counterfeit works to an undercover detective.
In his statement, Mr. Vance said:
“Over just the last three years, my Office has prosecuted the thefts of valuable paintings, including pieces by Salvador Dalí, Claude Monet and Fernand Leger, as well as a multi-million dollar art fraud scheme. New York’s art scene has long been an important part of the city’s culture and economy, and my Office will continue to rigorously protect the integrity of our city’s art market.”
Here’s the Manhattan DA’s press release.
Hirsts – whether real or fake – aren’t worth what they used to be worth, as The Telegraph reports. Hirst works purchased between 2005 and 2008 have lost 30% of their value and: “One third of the 1,700 artworks by Hirst that have gone under the hammer since 2009 have failed to sell at all.”