Angela Gulbenkian, a German art adviser, who is married to Calouste’s great-grandnephew, appeared in a London court last week accused of theft. She pleaded not guilty to two charges, one involving the disappearance of £1,061,484 belonging to an advisory company called between March and December last year, and a further charge of theft, relating to the alleged theft of £50,000. Both cases involve work by Yayoi Kusama.
Mathieu Ticolat, the co-founder of the Hong Kong-based Art Incorporated Limited, claims he transferred £1,061,484 to Gulbenkian's bank account to buy a 2012 sculpture by the Japanese artist on behalf of an Asian collector. Despite receiving images of the work sitting in a Swiss storage facility, together with a condition report, Ticolat says the sculpture was never delivered.
The second case, involving £50,000, also features a Kusama work, Yellow Pumpkin, which was promised to Jacqui Ball, a friend of the defendant's.
Ticolet told the South China Morning Post he had never previously done business with Gulbenkian, but was reassured by the family name. The Gulbenkian foundation in Portugal were keen however to distance themselves from the debacle. 'Angela Gulbenkian does not have any relation whatsoever with the foundation and, as far as we know, is married to a Gulbenkian family member who is not a direct descendant of our founder' a spokeswoman told the paper.
Gulbenkian was given bail, reports Court News, leaving Southwark Court in a chauffeur-driven black Mercedes.
11 September 2019