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NY Post
New York Post
29 Apr 2023

NextImg:Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-art advisor suing to retrieve Warhol portrait

Jeffrey Epstein’s former art adviser claims that his lawyer made off with his prized portrait by Andy Warhol, which he pawned in a moment of financial troubles, a lawsuit claims.  

Manhattan art collector Stuart Pivar, 93, told The Post that he suddenly “needed some dough” last year, so he sold a 1977 portrait of himself by the Pop Art pioneer to his lawyer, Mitchell Cantor, for $100,000, under the condition that he could buy it back. 

“I decided to raise a couple of bucks by lending my portrait of myself by Andy Warhol, which I [was] sure to get back,” Pivar said of the painting, which featured his angular face against a backdrop of blues, black, and aqua. 

The deal stipulated that Pivar could repurchase the painting within six months for $150,000. 

In March, Pivar reached out to buy the portrait back, just days before the six-month deadline. Cantor, however, told him, “The painting is long gone,” according to court papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court this month.

Stuart Pivar said he sold his Warhol portrait last year under the condition he could repurchase it.
Helayne Seidman
A portrait of Stuart Pivar by Andy Warhol
Pivar said he sold the painting because he was dealing with financial troubles.
Stuart Pivar Collection

Pivar claimed that Cantor had breached their contract by not allowing him to repurchase the artwork and had acted negligently by refusing to explain to his legal client where the portrait was.  

He sued Cantor and his corporation, Concordia Fine Art Inc., for $5 million each in damages, reasoning that the value of Warhol’s painting of his mug was somehow comparable to the artist’s portraits of Blondie front-woman Debbie Harry — one of which sold in March for $8 million. 

“Pivar’s claims are both delusional and internally inconsistent,” Cantor told The Post.

Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol’s portraits of celebrities have previously sold for millions.
Getty Images

Pivar, who made his money in the plastics industry, has said that he ended his friendship with Epstein after learning about the convicted pedophile’s sexual assault allegations