So this morning, Alex Matter told me that New York art dealer Ronald Feldman does, indeed, own a few of the works either outright or partially. That clearly doesn't square with what Matter told me on Tuesday, and confirmed in a follow up interview. (We'll run a clarification in the paper tomorrow.)
So what changed?
Here's what Matter says: He wasn't clear about his arrangement with Feldman until he spoke to him. (That conversation came after at least a half dozen calls from me.) As Matter describes the situation, he found the expenses associated with restoring, insuring and researching the works grew so much he needed help. "Basically, I turned to a friend," he says.
That "help" involved giving Feldman partial ownership. How many pictures? How much of a stake? Matter says he doesn't know. The deal is verbal, with no contract. And the value of the pictures largely depends on whether the pictures are authenticated as actual Pollocks. Knowing what's at stake for Feldman, it's easy to understand why the Pollock-Krasner Foundation made a point of highlighting the dealer's push to get the pictures authenticated.
I tried to get Feldman to tell me his side. He didn't return phone calls.