Corot’s Portrait of a Girl

Art agent loses Corot painting in drunken stupor

Isaac Mostovicz writes that carelessness had lead to the loss of a great painting...

A man who was acting as an agent for the sale of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s 1857-58 painting “Portrait of a Girl” (estimated value: $1.35 million) lost the painting while intoxicated, according to a lawsuit recently filed in New York state. Following a meeting with the painting’s co-owner Tom Doyle and interested buyer Offer Wasserman, James Carl Haggerty, the agent enlisted to sell the portrait (and a friend of Doyle’s), was given the painting by co-owner Tom Doyle in order to deliver it to Offer Wasserman at his hotel. The potential buyer wanted to inspect it further under UV light.

According to CCTV footage, Haggerty did bring the painting to Wasserman at his hotel, but the painting mostly stayed behind the front desk, and the two spent time together at the hotel’s bar, until Wasserman left at 11:30pm without the painting and Haggerty stayed behind at the bar, picking up the painting from behind the front desk at 12:50am and leaving with it while visibly intoxicated. Footage outside his building shows that he no longer had the painting when he arrived home at 2:30am. The next morning he called Doyle to say he couldn’t remember where the painting was because he had been so intoxicated the night before.

The bottom line: make sure you have responsible business partners! You may like your friends, but sometimes they aren’t the best people to do business with.

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