American Airlines, along with seven other art handling companies, has been accused in a federal complaint of damaging a slash sculpture by Lucio Fontana while it was shipped from Paris to the Armory Show in New York last year. Lloyd’s of London, who insured the work for the Beverly Hills gallery Marc Selwyn Fine Art, filed the claim in a New York court on 11 February, citing breach of contract and negligence.
Elite Systematic Arts and MainFreight in the US; CDG Handling, ARC Transport, World Freight and Socièté Nouvelle Cornu Emballeurs in France; and Kraft ELS AG in Switzerland are named as the other co-defendants. None could be reached for comment.
On 13 February 2015, the Swiss art trading company AGB Contemporary AG consigned Concetto Spaziale (1955-60) to Marc Selwyn with a sale price of €175,000 ($196,000), according to the legal complaint. The work was being stored by World Freight on the outskirts of Paris when it was packaged for travel and left Charles de Gaulle airport for JFK in New York on around 24 February. A week later, the sculpture was transported to the Armory Show where it was unwrapped and found to be damaged, the complaint says.
Lloyd’s paid Marc Selwyn Fine Art $104,250 to cover the insurance money due, and is now seeking to recover $116,000 in damages as well as legal fees.