Alec Baldwin has sued Manhattan’s prestigious Mary Boone Gallery for allegedly selling him a painting the gallery knew was a copy of the desired work.
TMZ.com on Monday said the newly filed lawsuit — which stems from a dispute made public last month — involves Ross Bleckner’s 1996 “Sea and Mirror,” which Baldwin in 2010 had asked Boone to buy from the collector owning it. The actor, 58, paid $190,000 for what he belatedly learned was a highly similar work, which Bleckner, he said, had begun in 1996 and completed in 2010.
The gallery’s attorney said last month Baldwin had been aware the painting he purchased was not the original, an assertion the two-time Emmy Award-winner denied.
“We believe this is a frivolous and vindictive lawsuit and we are confident it will be dismissed,” the attorney, Ted Poretz, told Newsday on Monday. He added later in a statement, “Ms. Boone has no interest in misleading clients and we are confident that this frivolous and vindictive lawsuit will be dismissed. Regardless of Mr. Baldwin’s unseemly reaction to his own misunderstanding, Ms. Boone offered him a full refund and took every step to handle this in a professional manner. Sadly, Mr. Baldwin’s decision to continue this personal attack is not surprising given his history of lashing out against anyone he believes is beneath him.”
Baldwin’s representative had no comment. The actor last month told The New York Times that the gallery had stamped a number on the back of the painting that corresponded to one the gallery had assigned to the original, which the unidentified collector declined to sell.
The Amityville-born Baldwin, who was raised in the Nassau Shores neighborhood of Massapequa and now has a home in Amagansett, had met Bleckner at events in the Hamptons. The Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation was among the sponsors of “Unfinished Business: Paintings from the 1970s and 1980s by Ross Bleckner, Eric Fischl, and David Salle,” an exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, running Aug. 7 to Oct. 16.
Boone, whose original 1978 gallery in a pre-gentrified SoHo became an important springboard for many of the following decade’s most notable artists, now has a gallery on Fifth Avenue and another on West 24th Street.