Fotog shatters ancient statue
- Last Updated: 7:15 AM, April 26, 2012
- Posted: 12:33 AM, April 26, 2012
You break it, you bought it.
A Manhattan art collector says a photographer snapping pictures of her 2,630-year-old sculpture for an art magazine carelessly smashed the rare piece to bits during the photo shoot — and now she wants the publishers to pay $300,000.
Corice Arman, who filed suit in Manhattan yesterday, said that after she heard the sickening crash and saw what had happened, “I was devastated.”
“I was shocked, stunned,” Arman told The Post. “It meant a lot to me because it was something I collected with my late husband and it can never be replaced.”
The incident happened May 12 last year, when Art+Auction magazine was working on a spread of Arman’s massive art collection inside her TriBeCa home.
One of Arman’s prized possessions — and one of the subjects of the shoot — was an “ancient, terra cotta figurine from Nigeria known as a Nok figure,” which is estimated to date back to the year 618 B.C., Arman says in court papers.
“During the course of photographing the Nok figure, the photographers moved the Nok figure from its location to another location on the opposite side of the room” without Arman’s permission, she says in a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.
The fotog, Eric Guillemain, and his crew didn’t use “the due care necessary” to handle the artifact, and it fell to the floor, the suit says. The sculpture “was smashed into a myriad of pieces,” the suit says.
“I had this for so many years, and it was smashed to smithereens,” Arman said. “It looked like a broken porcelain cup.”
Arman’s lawyer, Charles Rosenzweig, called the accident “a loss of world heritage. It’s a terrible, terrible thing.”
Arman, whose husband was a legendary sculptor who routinely used smashed and broken items in his works, had planned on eventually donating the piece to a museum.
“It was a wonderful, extraordinary specimen — very large and complete,” Arman said.
“I lived with it for over 25 years,” she said. “I was hoping to give it to the Museum of African Art.”
She now wants Art+Auction owner Louise Blouin Media to pay $300,000 for the loss of “unique and irreplaceable artwork.”
Ben Hartley, the president of Louise Blouin, said he had not seen the suit, but that “we have the position that we have no liability in this incident.”
A rep for Guillemain, who’s not named in the lawsuit, also did not return a call.