Fight for paintings between Turkish, Italian galleries
Galleria Continua S.R.L, a prominent Italian art gallery with branches worldwide, has filed a lawsuit against Orhan Dağhan Özil, the owner of the Artist Art Gallery in Istanbul’s Nişantaşı neighborhood, alleging that Özil did not return millions of euros worth of works of Italian painter Michelangelo Pistoletto.
According to the lawsuit, the Italian art gallery delivered some of the works of the 88-year-old Pistoletto, one of the main representatives of the Italian Arte Povera movement, to Özil to put up for sale in his gallery.
According to Galleria Continua S.R.L., Özil sold some of Pistoletto’s works, but Özil neither made payment for the sold works nor returned the unsold artworks to the gallery. The Italian gallery then sent a warning to Özil and the Artist Art Gallery regarding the return of unsold works and the payment for the sold ones. In his reply to the warning, Özil said that they sold four artworks as barter and that the other works were safe in their hands and made a commitment to return those artworks on Nov. 15, 2020.
As the commitment was not fulfilled, Galleria Continua S.R.L. terminated its contract with Özil on Jan. 26 and commenced two separate execution proceedings.
The lawyers of the gallery demanded the determination of the works held by the Turkish gallery through the court, saying, “We demand the return of the works that the defendants hold maliciously. In addition, we request the court to issue a preliminary injunction in order to prevent the transfer of the works to third parties, their relocation, transfer to other places, all kinds of restorations on the works, their exhibition, their online or physical sale and auction.”