Park West Gallery in Southfield, Mich., claims to be "the world's largest art dealer," flogging more works than the major auction houses through its sales on half a dozen cruise lines. But while the onboard auctions promise "good investments," the New York Times reports that Park West is selling works at tremendously inflated prices. Now the gallery is facing a class-action lawsuit by disgruntled collectors.
One cruise passenger bought three prints for $73,000, below Park West's low estimates, only to discover once on land that they "are probably worth $10,000, if they're even real." Park West advertises major savings off artworks' "appraised value"—but those sky-high appraisals have no connection to the real market price. A lawyer for the plaintiffs compared the gallery's tactics to a claim that "my house is worth $50 million because I say so."