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Friedel Dzubas Painting Was Actually By His Girlfriend Who Sues As SDNY Judge Cites Hirst

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 8 – How much is a painting mis-attributed to Abstract Expressionist Friedel Dzubas but actually by his one-time girlfriend Marianne Hicks worth?

  And how does that related to the Federal court's jurisdictional threshold of $75,000?

   These questions arose in a civil proceeding on May 8 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Edgardo Ramos, covered exclusively by Inner City Press.

   Marianne Hicks painted it in 1981, and took it to residence of then 11-year boyfriend artist Fridel Dzubas, ultimately leave it behind.

 The Complaint says this was when "Dzubas developed Parkinson's disease" and his "adult children discouraged him from continuing his relationship with [Hicks] and encouraged him to begin a romantic relationship with a new woman."    In the hearing on May 8, this "new woman" was named, Melinda (or as the court reporter was told, Malinda) Hatch.

   Years later Marianne Hicks was browsing an art website and saw her painting - being sold as a Dzubas. She tried to resolve it, ultimately sued with a 50 page affidavit from Dzubas' studio assistant Wesley Frantz.

   Leslie Feely Fine Art LLC's defense is that the value of the painting would only be of a Hicks, none of which have sold. They aruged for dismissal for failure to reach the jurisdictional amount.  

  Judge Ramos said that art is "sui generis," that while he'd never heard of Marianne Hicks, he'd also never heard of Dzubas. So how, he asked, can he find as a matter of law that a Hicks is not worth $75,000?

He noted he recently read of a Damien Hirst work being cut up and the pieces sold.    Ultimately both sides have been allowed some discovery, on the pricing of any sales of Hicks work, and apparently for the sale prices of this painting to John Doe.

A motion to dismiss is due June 8, with opposition July 2 and any replied by July 22. The case is Marianne Hicks v. Leslie Feely Fine Art, LLC et al.,  20-cv-1991 (Ramos).


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