MANHATTAN (CN) - Sotheby's may auction off 25 works by modern masters like Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Paul Gauguin, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Vincent van Gogh, pending the resolution of a new lawsuit.
The collection, which is comprised largely of impressionists, belonged to the late financier Simon M. Jaglom, who headed the New York Commodities Corporation and the Overseas Barters Corporation before dying at age 96 in 1992.
A passionate collector of late 19th and early 20th century art, Jaglom's paintings from the impressionist and post-impressionist movements enjoyed an exhibition that opened last year at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
Among this collection, the businessman gifted 10 of the works to his sons Michael and Henry D. Jaglom before his death, and bequeathed the other 15 to them as equal tenants in common.
On Thursday, the decades-old inheritance sparked a new lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court by Victoria Foyt Jaglom, Henry D. Jaglom's ex-wife, who is a trustee of four family trusts named in the lawsuit.
Her attorney Elliot Schnapp, from Gordon, Gordon & Schnapp, emphasized that the 10-page complaint for partition is not a matrimonial dispute and does not reflect any discord within the family.
He said in an interview that the litigation is simply meant to speed up the process for auctioning off paintings that have remained in storage at Sotheby's for more than two decades.
"It's purely a question of getting the artworks to the market," Schnapp said.
Victoria Jaglom has an ownership interest in the paintings, but she won't benefit from that interest while the paintings remain in storage. Michael and Henry have not paid Victoria for her portion of the painting's value, either.
The defendant in the case is not the plaintiff's ex-husband Henry, but his brother Michael Jaglom.
Should the litigation succeed, Sotheby's will be able to sell a wealth of works by modern masters.
The paintings awaiting possible future bidding include Degas's "Deux Danseuses," Picasso's "Rafael Nogueras et une amie a Els Quatre Gats Barcelone," Chagall's "Vitebsk le Samovar," Gauguin's "Pommes, cruche et verre Irise," and Van Gogh's "Le Chaumiere," according to the lawsuit.
American artist Childe Hassam's "At the Piano" and Danish-French impressionist Camille Pissarro's "Hiver a Monfoucalt, homme a cheval" are also part of the trust.
Works by Camille Pissarro, Max Liebermann, Jules Pascin, Georges Rouault, Childe Hassam, Berthe Morisot, Emmanuel Mane-Katz, Jean-Louis Forain, and Louis Valtat also fill out Jaglom's collection.[pictured: Paul Gauguin's "Pommes, cruche et verre Irise"]