Local News in Brief : Newport Beach : Gallery Exonerated in Rembrandt Case

An Orange County jury has exonerated a Santa Monica art gallery of allegations that its employees misrepresented the origin of etchings by the Dutch artist Rembrandt.

“We’re very pleased,” said Robert Goldman, head of Goldmanart Inc. “None of the allegations were true, and none were supported in the trial.”

Joan and Robert Orlando of Newport Beach had claimed that they were persuaded to buy two etchings on the strength of claims that they were originals.

But jurors in the Harbor District courtroom of Superior Court Judge Robert C. Todd found Wednesday that no misrepresentation had taken place.


William R. Bernstein, lawyer for the Orlandos, said an appeal is being considered. The Orlandos said they were led to believe that they were purchasing etchings made by Rembrandt himself. In fact, the etchings purchased were produced from copper plates made by Rembrandt but were printed more than 100 years after the 17th-Century artist’s death.

The gallery contended that the etchings had always been described as having been produced in the 18th Century.

The 10-day trial ended abruptly when gallery lawyer Bruce L. Cleeland rested without presenting any defense, arguing that the Orlandos had failed to prove their case.

Additional claims by the Orlandos against other defendants in the case were settled out of court, according to Bernstein, who said he was under a court order not to elaborate.