Frans Hals.jpeg
The disputed Frans Hals painting, 'Portrait of a Gentleman'.

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Last year auction house Sotheby’s won its case against Fairlight Art Ventures, the former business partner of Weiss.

Now Fairlight Art Ventures has been granted the right to appeal the decision.

Sotheby’s first filed its claim in London's High Court against Weiss and Fairlight Art Ventures in February 2017. Weiss settled out of court in April 2019 but in December 2019 a High Court judgement handed down by Justice Robin Knowles determined Fairlight was liable to Sotheby’s.

The judge did not determine whether the picture in question, Portrait of a Gentleman, is by Frans Hals or not.

Weiss bought the picture in 2010 with backing from Fairlight. It was then sold privately through Sotheby’s in 2011 to a US buyer in a $10.75m deal.

A date for the appeal hearing is yet to be announced.

Fairlight Art Ventures said: “We were surprised when the previous management of Sotheby's chose to take this matter to court. Once they did so, and pursued their case in an aggressive manner, we had no choice but to defend ourselves vigorously. We always felt the facts underlying this unfortunate situation, and the legal principles involved were on our side.

“We were, obviously, disappointed with the conclusion and the reasoning of the Commercial Court’s judgement.

We are grateful to the Court of Appeal for allowing us to make our points to a panel of three judges.”

Sotheby’s said: "We are confident the Court of Appeal will uphold the First Instance Judgement which was entirely in Sotheby’s favour. In the meantime, the granting of permission to appeal does not absolve Fairlight of its liability to pay Sotheby’s the amount owed according to the existing judgement award.”

Meanwhile, the Weiss Gallery is among the Old Master dealers that have consigned works directly to Sotheby's for the upcoming ‘The Dealer’s Eye: London’ sale which opens online tomorrow and runs until June 25.