For those who drew "famous artists pawning their own work" in their signs of the financial apocalypse betting pool?congrats! The Times reports today on Art Capital Group, a discreet (until now!) loan shark for artists and collectors suddenly in a pinch. Two of the firm's clients: photographer Annie Leibovitz, who put up her pair of Greenwich Village townhouses (and the rights to all her current and future photographs) as collateral for some $15.5 million in loans she needed to pay her bills, and Julian Schnabel, who received $8 million from Art Capital when he was building Palazzo Chupi. Schnabel, unlike Leibovitz, used only the value of the real estate as collateral, but there have been complications since those heady days of 2006.
To pay down the debt, Schnabel took out another loan with Commerce Bank, and in that case did pledge his personal art collection. Now Schnabel is suing Art Capital, claiming the firm is seeking exorbitant fees even though he paid in a timely fashion. Art Capital counterclaims that Schnabel did not reveal there was an existing mortgage on the West 11th Street property, and therefore he owes millions in interest and fees. Yowza. At least now we know why the Chupster's new website looks a little frugal.
· That Old Master? It’s at the Pawnshop [NYT]
· Palazzo Chupi coverage [Curbed]