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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Police search Bill Lowe Gallery, report details allegations

Bill Lowe stands in front of work by Donald Sultan, an artist that has accused him of being a crook
  • DANNY BEANBLOSSOM
  • Bill Lowe stands in front of work by Donald Sultan, an artist that has accused him of being "a crook"
Veteran gallerist Bill Lowe is under scrutiny after police searched his Midtown gallery yesterday.

Channel 2 Action News cameras were on the scene yesterday as police removed computers and files from Bill Lowe Gallery in regards to a complaint filed by Wendy Snyder, who represents work by the late artist Sam Glankoff, claiming that she is owed $164,180 by Lowe Galleries, Inc.

Complaints about the gallery not paying artists are nothing new. In 2010, Fox 5 reported on claims against Lowe by the artist Donald Sultan who, at the time, called Lowe "a crook."

Creative Loafing has obtained copy of the police report filed by Wendy Snyder. The investigation seems to stem from Snyder noticing a discrepancy between what Lowe was telling her and the accounting statements she received from the gallery. From the report:

Wendy Snyder says that she received an account summary from Bill Lowe Gallery on 04/17/2010 which indicates that three paintings sold in 2009 for $45,000 but Bill Lowe told her earlier that those paintings sold for $35,000.00. One painting was showing to have been sold for $45,500.00 and Wendy Snyder said that she was given commission based on a sale price of $35,000.00.

When she arrived at Lowe's gallery to retrieve paintings left there on consignment, Snyder claims that she happened upon an even larger deception:

Wendy Snyder says that on 02/03/2011 she flew to Atlanta to remove 8 paintings from Lowe Galleries and discovered that four for these paintings were missing. Lowe Galleries told her that they sold but had no excuse for not notifying her of the sale sooner. Lowe gave her a check for $13,200.00 that day and also gave her five post dated checks at $10,000.00 each for money owed for the missing paintings. These checks were to be deposited one every two months but Bill Lowe stopped payment on all of those checks. Now Wendy Snyder doesn't have the money or the paintings that were there on consignment.

We've reached out to Lowe for comment about Snyder's allegations. In a statement to Channel 2, Lowe said, "I can state without equivocation that for the past quarter century my gallery has generated for all our artists, and their agents, exceptional incomes and significantly expanded career opportunities. We work tirelessly to advance their interests. The characterization of our interaction with artists as anything other than a vibrant, productive and committed advocacy is inaccurate, and a distortion of the full story of our relationships - many of which extend well over a decade." We'll update the post when we hear from him.

The police are still conducting the investigation. No charges have been filed in the case.

Additional reporting by Thomas Wheatley

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