The Art World’s Gordon Gekko
A former corporate raider is shaking up the market with brash tactics and big plans
Just before the country’s most prestigious art fair, Art Basel Miami Beach, opened in December, an energetic 70-year-old man named Asher Edelman marched through the local convention center to the booth of a Zurich gallery. He was accompanied by a dozen U.S. marshals. As onlookers whispered, the marshals seized four paintings by Yves Klein, Fernand Léger, Joan Miró and a racetrack scene by Edgar Degas worth around $15 million.
Mr. Edelman goes to great lengths to protect his art interests. He had gotten a federal court order to confiscate the Zurich gallery’s inventory as potential compensation for a $750,000 Robert Ryman painting that the gallery, called Gmurzynska, had borrowed from him and, he says, accidentally damaged months earlier.
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