Art dealer sentenced to 14 months in prison

MILWAUKEE — Art dealer Michael H. Lord was sentenced to 14 months in prison on May 25 for defrauding more than a dozen customers whose artworks he sold on consignment from his gallery.

Between 1999 and 2004, records show, Lord took 40 pieces of artwork on consignment from 15 customers and failed to pay them the proceeds, totaling $634,750.

This is only the latest setback for Lord, who once boasted wealthy clients and connections with internationally known galleries and artists. In 2005, the downtown Milwaukee building that housed his gallery was sold by a court-appointed receiver, primarily to pay an investment firm to which Lord owed about $900,000.

In a separate complaint last year, Lord was charged with felony theft for not paying the Seattle-based studio of artist Dale Chihuly following the sale of an artwork Lord had exhibited on consignment. Chihuly’s Sky Blue Basket Set with Black Lip Wraps was sold by Lord for $33,792 in February 2002, according to the complaint. Half the sale price should have been paid to the artist’s studio within 10 days but wasn’t, the complaint says.

In 2004, Lord spent 20 days in jail after pleading guilty to a felony charge of embezzlement for stealing $174,999 from a great-aunt’s estate.


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