A widely watched lawsuit between a billionaire and top art tycoon has expanded to include one of the most private and powerful families in the art world.
Last week, a judge granted a motion by billionaire financier Ronald O. Perelman to depose members of the Mugrabi family as part of a lawsuit between Perelman and art megadealer Larry Gagosian. According to people familiar with the case, the depositions are scheduled for September and could delve into the financial relationships and dealings between the Mugrabis and Gagosian.
The financial dealings between Gagosian and the Mugrabis have long been the subject of speculation and media scrutiny in the art world, since the two often work together in buying, selling and trading millions of dollars worth of contemporary art. Gagosian, considered the most powerful art dealer in the world, has helped create superstars in artists like Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Cy Twombly and has galleries in New York, California, London, Paris, Rome, Geneva and Hong Kong.
The Mugrabis, who got their start in the garment trade, are now among the most active traders and collectors in the global art scene. The family—led by Jose and his sons Alberto and David—are especially big players in the market for pop artist Andy Warhol. Jose Mugrabi told The Wall Street Journal in 2008 that the family owned 800 Warhol pieces at the time.