Happy Trails

After their little dustup, artist Robert Rauschenberg and art dealer Alfred Kren decide to do business together

For all the nasty letters that artist Robert Rauschenberg's camp exchanged with art dealer Alfred Kren during their business dispute ["Culture Clash," by Shaila Dewan, February 26], by their own account they have settled their dispute quite amicably.

So amicably, in fact, that they will be doing business together in the future. Kren's attorney Mitchell Savrick has confirmed that the German dealer will be permitted to sell two Rauschenberg works -- reportedly two of those Kren originally tried to sell -- for a commission as part of the settlement deal.

Kren, claiming that Rauschenberg and Swiss dealer Jamileh Weber owed him part of a commission on works he originally attempted to sell to a collector himself, sued Rauschenberg in a Travis County court in April 1997. Though his original claim was less than $100,000, he won a default judgment of $5.5 million when Rauschenberg failed to appear in court. Kren's lawyers then seized about $6 million worth of the artist's work from the Menil Collection the day after the artist's retrospective opened in February.

Ultimately, the museum got the work back, and apparently Rauschenberg has decided to forgive and forget. "We have agreed to put those problems behind us," says the statement the two issued after reaching an undisclosed settlement. Had Rauschenberg litigated the matter, he might have had a case, but according to his colleague Julie Martin, "He wasn't going to spend the rest of his life doing that. He's 72.

 
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