Michelle Rosenfeld, an art dealer, went to the apartment of artist Jean- Michel Basquiat to buy…

Michelle Rosenfeld, an art dealer, went to the apartment of artist Jean- Michel Basquiat to buy three of his paintings. The works that she claims she contracted to buy were entitled Separation of the K, Atlas, and Untitled Head. Ms. Rosenfeld gave Mr. Basquiat a cash deposit of 10 percent, and Mr. Basquiat wrote out in crayon on a large piece of paper the terms of his sale to her and noted that someday this contract would be worth money. The paper listed the three paintings, bore Ms. Rosenfeld’s signature and Mr. Basquiat’s signature, and stated: “$ 12,000—$ 1,000 DEPOSIT— Oct 25 82.” Ms. Rosenfeld later returned to Mr. Basquiat’s loft to discuss delivery, but Mr. Basquiat convinced her to wait for at least two years so that he could show the paintings at exhibitions. Sadly, Mr. Basquiat died before Ms. Rosenfeld took delivery and his estate argues that there was no contract because the statute of frauds made the agreement unenforceable. Analyze the enforceability of the “large paper” contract. [Rosenfeld v. Basquiat, 78 F. 3d 184 ( 2d Cir. 1996).]

 

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