Who can put a price on a child’s earliest works of art, right? A well-to-do couple in New York City is suing their son’s school after a canvas they nabbed for a cool $50,000 at a charity auction turned out to be a mere finger painting.
According to an article in Gawker, Upper East Siders Michelle and Jon Heinemann filed a half-a-million dollar lawsuit against Cathedral School of St. John the Divine. The damages include the cost of the painting, and fees involved in relocating their children to a new school (part of which being a $60,000 chauffeur’s bill).
The Heinemanns accused a teacher at the school of rigging the charity auction by driving the prices out of all proportion. The couple—out of town at the time—had left instructions for a proxy to make the highest offer on a painting, assuming bids would not exceed the $3,000 mark. (Perhaps the proxy should also be sued for leaving common sense at the door, but I digress…)
“This is essentially a painting done by 5-year-olds,” said a source for the Heinemanns, whose son Hudson Cornelius apparently contributed to the collective oeuvre.
The couple has also made allegations of maltreatment against the school, claiming their five-year-old son was on one occasion, “relegated to the role of ‘door-holder’ and ordered to hold the door for all of the other students." Poor kid. No wonder he’s scarred. Expect some great work to come from this young, clearly tortured artist!
Should the school acknowledge the mistake and refund the donation, or should the bid remain final sale?