In NYC, a billionaire custody battle over a “fool” painting plays out in court

An almost identical work from Christopher Wool (Image Credit : Christie’s)
An almost identical work from Christopher Wool (Image Credit : Christie’s)

Robert Soros – the son of billionaire George Soros – and his estranged wife Melissa are battling for custody… of a black-and-white painting of the word “fool.”

The pair, who are in the midst of a $350 million divorce, both claim ownership of the piece by artist Christopher Wool, which has reportedly risen in value by about $7 million in the past 17 years.

According to the New York Post, a Manhattan Supreme Court hearing on Thursday heard Robert testify about two 1999 auctions at Christie’s where he acquired the Wool painting for $420,000, plus three other works. Robert, who runs his father’s Soros Fund Management, claims to have bought the art with his own funds, while Melissa says documents show the pieces were bought in her name.

It’s no wonder they’re fighting about it, at Christie’s London in 2012, an almost identical Christopher Wool piece sold for $7.7 million. [NYP]