An heiress of the Hong Kong beverage giant Vitasoy International is suing prominent gallery owner Pearl Lam, saying she has paid 500,000 pounds (US$613,000) for a Banksy painting that was never delivered, according to a court writ filed this week.
Karen Lo Ki-yan, whose grandfather founded Vitasoy which specializes in soy milk and juice drinks, said Lam falsely represented that she had bought Banksy's 'Show Me the Monet' painting on Lo's behalf, according to the writ.
The 2005 painting by the British artist is a "remix" of a masterpiece by Impressionist painter Claude Monet.
Lam's office did not immediately respond to requests by phone and email for comment.
According to the writ, Lo claims against Lam for the damages for fraudulent misrepresentation, deceit and/or negligence by her in making false and/or negligent representations to Lo that she had acquired the painting, with the predominant motive to injure Lo by inducing her to make the payment for the painting.
Lo also requested Lam to return the 500,000 pounds, and alternatively, the sum of HK$5 million for the outstanding loan with interests on the amount that due from Lee to Lo.
The painting was sold at a Sotheby's auction in October 2020 for more than 7.5 million pounds, far above an estimated sale price of 3 million pounds to 5 million pounds.
Lam is one of more than 170 gallery owners participating in Art Basel Hong Kong this week. Hong Kong's government has welcomed the art fair as it tries to reinvigorate the economy after a nearly three-year slump from factors including tough Covid
lockdowns, a closed border with China and a security crackdown.