Art Fan Buys "$110,000" Renoir Sketch -- Then Finds Out it's Worth Less Than Six Grand

If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is -- just ask Mark Teich, who got an, um, bargain when he paid a Scottsdale art dealer $43,000 for a sketch by Pierre-Auguste Renoir he claims he was told was worth $110,000.

Turns out, the sketch isn't worth $110,000. In fact, when Teich tried to get the sketch insured, he found out it wasn't worth anything close to that -- it's worth less than $6,000.

Even though Teich probably should have checked out the value of the art (with someone other than the guy selling it to him) before he paid for it, Teich is suing the Scottsdale art dealer who sold him the sketch.

Teich claims in a lawsuit filed in Maricopa County Superior Court that the seller, Dror Darel,  owner of Rima Fine Art and Custom Framing, assured him that the piece was worth $110,000.

According to the lawsuit, first obtained by Courthouse News, Darel "provided a document to Teich on Rima Fine Art letterhead entitled 'Appraisal,' stating a value of the 'painting' as $110,000 and 'museum quality, conservation framing $570 for a total value of: $110,570.'"

When Teich got the piece appraised -- again, after dropping nearly $50,000 on it -- he was told by Christie's Appraisals in New York that it "estimated the value of the artwork at $4,000-$6,000 and subsequently issued an insurance appraisal for the artwork valuing the artwork at $7,000."

Teich tried to return the sketch, but Darel refused to return his money.

Reached by phone this morning, Darel tells New Times the lawsuit is "frivolous" and will "work itself out in the courts."

Regardless of what Darel thinks, Teich is seeking at least $103,570 in compensatory damages.

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James King
Contact: James King