The Art of the Steal: the saga of Larry Salander


I found this article from Portfolio chronicling the downfall of the New York art dealer Larry Salander an astonishing read. As the tombstone goes:

The Salander-O’Reilly gallery was set to open a jaw-dropping exhibit with works by Titian, Botticelli, and Caravaggio when a New York judge padlocked its doors amid allegations that its owner, Larry Salander, is behind one of the largest art frauds in history. Now plaintiffs including Wall Street financiers, the tennis star John McEnroe, and Sotheby’s auction house are trying to find out how more than $100 million went missing.

The extent of Salander’s financial wheeling and dealings is extraordinary, as are the sums of money involved… Salander’s original motive was to jolt contemporary art buyers away from a price feeding frenzy over the likes of Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons, and back towards reinvestment in Renaissance and Baroque art– itself a gutsy and laudable (if somewhat unrealistic) aspiration. Unfortunately it would seem that this grand gesture has instead fallen victim to old-fashioned greed, self-delusion and fraud:

The scandal has shaken the art world, raising troubling questions about the darker side of this secretive, totally unregulated market into which investors have poured billions of dollars in the past decade. Today, as a federal bankruptcy judge sorts through the tangled web of claims against Salander, and an investigation, begun in late October by the Manhattan district attorney, raises the possibility that Salander will face a criminal indictment, the question that mystifies is not just how Salander got himself into so much trouble, but why? What caused a man who had achieved so much to risk everything he had worked so hard to create, “to destroy,” as one of his artists says, “everything that he loved?”

It’s a long article, but well worth a read… New York Magazine also covers the story, lighter on the complexity of the story but with more on the man (and far more sympathetic to Salander in its tone):

An aesthete with no formal art education (nor even a college degree), Salander built his art empire, Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, on native artistic empathy and an intensity of will. “He is a very unusual combination of street vitality and aesthetic refinement,” says Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic and a close friend of Salander’s who wrote catalogue essays for the gallery. “He’s a street kid who’s read Ruskin. I don’t know anybody else who so naturally recognizes the brutality of the world but lives in such a fine way.”

Artists, actors, critics, and buyers responded to his gravitational pull. When I visited Salander in Venice during the opening of the Biennale last June, he was a character in need of a Balzac, a prophet and a gambler who seemed to walk across the water of the Venetian lagoon. He spoke about Titian and Tintoretto as if they were close friends and skipped the contemporary art of the Biennale altogether. As we returned from the island of Burano, where we’d had dinner with his friend Robert De Niro, Salander said to me, “Art is the human attempt to make one plus one equal more than two.”

6 Responses to The Art of the Steal: the saga of Larry Salander

  1. Mobile blogging is an exciting phenomenon that issweeping the blogosphere. One of the understandings why a lot of bloggers are attracted to the medium of blogging in first place is that they enjoy being able to makefrequent updates and posts that keep all of their visitors up to rush with currentsituations. Mobile blogs, or”moblogs,” take this to the extreme by allowing users to post matters literally as they happen. This new wave of moblogs and mobloggers keep network surfers up to date with good and bad eventsissues of importance as they occur all over the world, helping to make worldcommunication quicker and more accurate. Many people feel that the limitations of blogging have a lot to do with geography. After all, there is only socurrent that a blog can be when you need to run home and boot up in order to update it. Yet, mobile blogging marks the starting of a thrilling new era when web-based communication can happen spontaneously from any location. Moblogging devices mean that there is almost nowhere on the planet thatstays off-limits for bloggers. Next part following week.

  2. There are many creative ways to make money if a person is willing to try new ideas.
    This is very easy to do and again it will not cost you a single penny.

    The reality is NO one has time to be toyed with or manipulated.

  3. These can include feeding the animals, walking the dogs, basic grooming, administering medications, changing litter boxes and cleaning up messes.

    In a recent survey in the Daily Express, more than a
    third of working mums said they would rather be with their children and give up work
    if they could, while a majority wished that they could work a shorter week.
    Finally, webinars can be witnessed using all kinds of devices connected
    to the Internet ranging from desktops and laptops to tablets and

  4. Yolanda says:

    Your traffic legal professional will be able to discuss
    with prosecutors in order to reduce the fees and penalties.
    There are multiple things that you attorney can get you compensation
    for, such as your lost wages and medical bills that
    were a result of your injury. Auto accident attorney this is a process in which the hypnotherapist to ask specific probing

  5. Rosalie says:

    Hi there to every , since I am in fact eager of reading this blog’s post to
    be updated regularly. It carries good data.

  6. says:

    Hello! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make
    your site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when browsing from my apple
    iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be
    able to fix this problem. If you have any recommendations,
    please share. Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,297 other followers

%d bloggers like this: