Friday, December 8, 2023

Chuck Close Joins Fight Against Polaroid Photo Sale


Readers may remember that Polaroid filed for bankruptcy twice in the past decade, most recently in 2008 in connection with a Ponzi scheme at parent company Petters Group Worldwide. The Polaroid name and assets—not including the photography collection—were acquired by a private equity firm and a liquidator for $88m in 2009. The photography collection remained behind with the defunct Polaroid Corporation, renamed PBE, and is now in the hands of PBE’s liquidators.

According to The Art Newspaper, Chuck Close has agreed to become a plaintiff in this case, hoping to stop the sale of works from the Polaroid Collection, which numbers around 16,000 works according to court papers filed in Minnesota in 2009. An auction of around 1,200 of these is scheduled to take place at Sotheby’s on June 20th and 21st in New York. Close told The Art Newspaper, “These were not Polaroid’s works to sell. […] I gave my best work to the collection because it was made clear that it was going to stay together and be given to a museum.”

Former Magistrate Judge Sam Joyner has taken charge in trying to persuade artists in this Polaroid Collection to voice their concerns and become fellow plaintiffs. Joyner has written a concise analysis of this case outlining the relevant facts, substantive legal issues and procedural issues (Note: the analysis is from September of 2009). For background to this story, here’s my post from April 2009.


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