HYDE PARK, N.Y. — A Greenwich, Conn., couple has filed a complaint against Great American Auction Service, Inc, with the 9th Judicial District (Dutchess County) of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Filed in November 2013, the complaint charges Great American and its co-owners, Peter Francese and Mary Jo Garlo, with misrepresenting artwork that was offered in an August 25, 2013, auction. The Greenwich couple, identified in the complaint as Jerome and Susan Davis, want a total of $58,100 they paid for three paintings, as well as legal costs, attorney fees and punitive damages.
The contested paintings include two works identified in the auction ad as a “Nineteenth Century Italian painting on board of wedding scene signed Frederich Kawmmerer [sic]” and a christening scene by the same artist. The couple also purchased a gouache titled “Interior with Rabbis” said to be by Arthur Szyk. The Davises contend in the complaint that art experts subsequently determined that representations concerning the three pieces were untrue.
The firm’s website advertises a January 26, 2013, auction as its next sale, but Peter Francese, contacted by phone, said that the business is still in operation. “We’re working on a big estate,” he said, noting that the company hopes to have its next auction sometime later this summer. Great American will be operating from a new location, though. “We’ve moved up the road,” said Francese, who added that he has been in the auction business for 40 years. The new address and auction date will be announced at a later time. In the meantime, the firm can be reached at 914-474-5686 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.