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N.Y. art dealer scrutinized for 'deceit'

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NEW YORK, Sep 12, 2006 (UPI via COMTEX) -- A New York art dealer may have drastically undervalued one of philanthropist Brooke Astor's favorite paintings when he bought it from her son for $10 million.

Gerald Peters, 59, paid Anthony Marshall, Astor's son, $10 million in 2002, but later sold the artwork for between $20 million and $25 million to another dealer, the New York Post reported.

Childe Hassam's painting, "Flags, Fifth Avenue," had hung over Astor's mantel since 1970 when she purchased it for $170,000. She was 100 years old when Marshall sold it.

Peters had to buy back 28 alleged Georgia O'Keeffe watercolors sold to a Missouri museum after their authenticity was questioned. The museum's former director Daniel Keegan believes Peters meant well, however. "Our conclusion was that (Peters) may have been a little too ambitious with the sale," Keegan said.

CNET founder Halsey Minor sued Peters, claiming he was misled about financial transactions.

But the gallery's chief of staff Denise Greenlaw Ramonas said Peters' company has sold more than a billion dollars in art. Occasionally disputes arise, but they are resolved, she said.


Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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