The tides have turned for The Andy Warhol Foundation (the Foundation). On December 12, 2012, ArtInfo announced that the Foundation recovered $4.6 million plus interest from their insurer, the Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company (PIIC). Judge O. Peter Sherwood of the New York Supreme Court dismissed PIIC’s petition for summary judgement and ordered the company to pay up.
The Foundation was shaken to its core last November when they settled a largely disputed anti-trust case referred to as the “Simon Action.” The settlement left the organization with $6.6 million in legal fees and led the Foundation to decide that they would no longer authenticate Warhol pieces. The Foundation purchased the PIIC coverage to protect themselves from future legal fees. Michael Straus, chair of the Warhol Foundation board stated: “The Foundation was forced to defend two meritless but costly lawsuits, and PIIC has wrongfully refused to honor its obligation under the policies to reimburse us for those costs.”
The Foundation will use the recovered funds to continue their dedication to foster the arts through grants and public service. Nicholas Gravante, Jr. of Boise, Schiller & Flexner noted: “The resources the Warhol Foundation will have to expend fighting PIIC, which it paid and trusted to protect it in this precise time of need, brings squarely into focus whether it still makes economic sense for art authentication boards to exist and provide their free public service. Aside from the wasted time, every dollar it spends litigating is diverted from the Foundation’s promotion of the arts, which is its one and only mission.”
The Warhol Foundation’s latest initiative offers assistance to art organizations affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Foundation has allocated $2 million to the cause. If you are interested in the program contact the New York Foundation for the Arts, which will be administering the funds.