Pi­casso ven­dor af­ter a for­tune

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - KATH­LEEN SKENE

son, John Jr, who was his ap­pren­tice at the time.

“It was al­most three years of lay­ing pipe though some of the most dif­fi­cult ter­rain I’ve ever come across, through creek cross­ings, hills — even through a ba­nana plan­ta­tion,” John Jr said.

“Even though it was one of the most chal­leng­ing jobs dad and I ever did, it was also one of the most en­joy­able.”

Se­qwa­ter man­ager op­er­a­tions south­ern re­gion Joe Meiss­ner said the pipe­line was an im­por­tant part of the city’s mod­ern his­tory. IT’S been re­vealed a Pi­casso sketch, miss­ing for a decade af­ter a court case in­volv­ing Mayor Tom Tate, has a $57 mil­lion price tag on it.

The sketch, ti­tled “Femme”, fea­tured with a silk-screen print from Warhol’s renowned Mar­i­lyn se­ries in sev­eral court cases in­volv­ing Cr Tate and Fran­cis Ko­vace­vic, who has also been known as Frank Kendt.

Femme be­longed to re­tired fla­menco guitarist Fer­nando da Costa, whose grand­fa­ther re­ceived it as a gift from the renowned artist. He spent years and thou­sands in the courts fight­ing to have it re­turned, to no avail.

“I’d like to have it back. It meant a lot to me at the time. It’s cost a lot of grief,” Mr da Costa told the Bul­letin in 2013.

In court doc­u­ments, Mr da Costa said Cr Tate pro­vided $50,000 as a de­posit for the col­lec­tion of art­works in­clud­ing the sketch that the col­lec­tor agreed to hand over to Mr Ko­vace­vic for a value of $3.78 mil­lion.

The court was told Cr Tate re­ceived the Warhol print as se­cu­rity for the $50,000 and that the other works were stored in a lo­cal gallery.

Mr Ko­vace­vic, in de­fend­ing the claim, said the amount of the deal was $2.178 mil­lion and that he’d only acted as an agent for it.

Can­berra web de­signer Evan Con­nell, op­er­a­tor of Ap­pari­tion On­line, said he built a web­site, U-D.com.au, which yes­ter­day was ad­ver­tis­ing the Pi­casso sketch for $57 mil­lion.

The web­site was cre­ated for a com­pany called Un­ex­pected Dis­trac­tions Pty Ltd, which is not a reg­is­tered busi­ness name.

“Frank Kendt came to me to sell the art­work,” he said.

“I met with him six or seven times. He never paid me.”

Mr Con­nell said Mr Kendt had pro­vided the pho­tos and de­scrip­tions of the art­work which are iden­ti­cal to the list­ing on an­other web­site, pi­cas­sofemme.com, which was made via a Cana­dian reg­istry that ob­scured the owner’s iden­tity.

Mr Con­nell said he had read about the court cases and left the U-D site up in the hope it would be dis­cov­ered by some­one who could re­unite the art­work with its orig­i­nal owner. Through a friend, Mr Da Costa – who lives in north­ern NSW – yes­ter­day said he felt “let down” by the le­gal sys­tem and ev­ery­one else in­volved and did not want to talk about it any­more.

The Mayor last night dis­tanced him­self from Mr Ko­vace­vic, say­ing the other man had never been his “busi­ness as­so­ciate”.

Mr Ko­vace­vic yes­ter­day did not want to an­swer any ques­tions about the art­work, the web­site or any­thing else.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.