Mr. Wiener has served as an expert witness in litigation and government hearings. He has testified in claims, including litigation over damage to Picasso’s Le Rêve – at the time the most expensive painting ever valued – owned by the hotelier Steve Wynn, as well as matters concerning the estates of prominent American artists. His testimony on behalf of the Canadian government laid down case law on donations to charitable institutions in Canada.
Governmental research, Development, and Testimony
Mr. Wiener has testified extensively before the US Congress, the Internal Revenue Service, the Philadelphia Art Commission, the Canadian government and the US Treasury Department. A partial list of such testimony is given below.
2009: Member of working group of 5 experts retained to develop and recommend new standards for donation appraisal reports concerning audio, visual and related photographic material to be considered by the Canadian Cultural Properties Export Review Board for potential Canadian tax deductions.
1990: Established with the Resolution Trust Corporation a national database of appraisers to help in the liquidation of assets of failed savings & loan institutions.
1986: Testimony submitted to the House Ways and Means Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight, concerning the IRS Art Advisory Panel. Testimony published by the Government Printing Office with the proceedings of the Hearing.
1985: Testimony before the IRS and Treasury on the new IRS regulations for donations of personal property to charitable institutions.
1985: Expert witness for the Treasury Department in the United States of America v. Jarelco, Inc. As a result of this action, the Treasury Department was able to reclaim more than $50 million in lost revenue.
1984: Participant at the meeting of IRS and Treasury officials and invited representatives of the appraisal profession to discuss the ramifications of the new legislation and rules regarding donations of personal property to charitable institutions.
1983: Testimony on appraising before the House Government Activities Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Cardiss Collins. Testimony published in “Revision of IRS Tax Deductions for the Arts”, the proceedings of the Hearing published by the Government Printing Office. (The results of the Hearing and the subsequent data collected by the House Government Activities Subcommittee were influential in leading to the current legislative revision and IRS rulings issued in 1984.)
Testimony as Expert Witness and Legal Consultation
Mr. Wiener has served extensively as an expert witness in a number of diversified law cases including those relating to objects created by Pablo Picasso, Louise Nevelson, Damien Hirst, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Andy Warhol, which, to date, is the largest valuation case ever tried in American courts, with assets claimed to be worth close to $1 billion.
Apart from his testimony concerning individual works of art, he has also testified on matters concerning appraisal methodology. His testimony on the use of blockage discount as a valuation parameter was influential in changing Canadian law. Among the cases in which he has testified are:
2009: Cincinnati Art Gallery and Travelers v. Covenant. The case involved a damaged painting by William Glackens.
2009: Expert witness in Venetia Kapernekas v. Udo Fritz-Hermann Brandhorst. The case involved the valuation of large scale sculptures by Damien Hirst.
2009: Expert witness in 775 Park Avenue Corp, aka Anton deBekessy v. Marguerite deBekessy. The case involved the role of provenance in the auction sales of fine and decorative art.
2008: Expert witness testimony in Christie’s, Inc. v. SWCA, Inc et al. The case concerned authentication procedures for a Picasso bronze.
2006-2009: Expert witness in P&E entertainment v. Chubb Insurance. The case involved a loss claim for audio-visual and photographic sports entertainment material.
2007: Expert witness in Trimount Foundation v. Dexter House Development, Boston. The case involved the valuation and assessment of damages to a major Tiffany mosaic room decoration located in the Ayer Mansion, Boston, Mass. The case was settled out of court, although a deposition was taken and a video-taped testimony to be played in court in the event of a trial was made.
2007: Designated expert witness in Stephen and Elaine Wynn v Those Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, London et al. Retained to determine the diminution in value to the painting Le Rêve by Pablo Picasso due to a puncture of the canvas; and to determine the market value of the painting prior to the accident. (NB Le Rêve was to be sold, prior to the damage, for $139 million, which would have made it, at the time, the most expensive work of art ever to be sold.
2006: Expert witness in Those Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, London et al v Nancy Cooperman. Civil case in which Nancy Cooperman was sued for $22 million by the above insurance companies. The case was decided in her favor based, in part, on the valuation submitted by Wiener Wolf Associates, LLC and Victor Wiener’s testimony. In addition, the Court accepted Mr Wiener’s stated valuation concept that a substantial appraisal discount was mandated by the events of September 11, 2001. (This possibly may be the only case in which this concept was presented to a judicial authority.)
2005: Expert witness in United States v. Rocco de Simone. This was a criminal case involving representation of French impressionist and modern paintings, consignment agreements and related art world practices. De Simone, who risked going to prison for approximately seven years, was exonerated based, in large part, on Mr Wiener’s expert witness testimony.
2005: Levin v. Gallery 63 Antiques. The case involved the valuation of large-scale 19th century European sculpture and the concept of “originality”.
2005: Expert witness in Levin v. Harned. The case involved art world practices and representation of European furniture and decorative arts sold by a number of well-known antiques dealers throughout the United States.
2004: Expert witness in Cathers v. Barnes. The case involved allegations of non-payment of bills. Mr Wiener testified for the defendant on art market practices and representation of objects by dealers.
2003: Legal consultation in Phoenix Art Gallery v. Kimbell Museum. The case involved non-fulfillment of purchase and the interrelationship of provenance concerns in the area of ancient art.
2003: Expert witness in Charles Malette v. Her Majesty The Queen, Vancouver, Canada. Retained by the Department of Justice, Canada as an expert witness in appraisal methodology and blockage discount in a dispute concerning the donation of 981 works on paper by the Canadian artist Harold Feist. The government’s position was upheld by the Court of Appeals with reliance upon Mr Wiener’s expert report as part of the justification for the decision.
2002: Consultant and expert witness for the City of New York in the settlement of an insurance claim for artist Wen-Ying Tsai. Valuation considerations include issue of blockage discount.
2001—2002: Expert witness testimony in Thomas Colville Fine Arts, LLC v. Kent Gilyard et al. Provided testimony concerning art sales practices, issues of authenticity and auction house sales practices and guarantees.
2002: Legal consultation in Gay Culverhouse v. Centrifugal/Mechanical Associates, Inc. et al. The case involved insurance damage and loss claim.
2002: Expert witness testimony in Estate of Louise Nevelson et al v. Carro, Spanbock et al. Provided testimony concerning the valuation of over 3,000 works of art by Louise Nevelson and issues of blockage discount.
2002: Legal consultation in Nares et al v. M&W Waterproofing, Inc. The case involved insurance damage and loss claim for art work created by the contemporary artist James Nares.
1999—2001: Expert witness for testimony to the Philadelphia Arts Commission re the Dream Garden Mosaic in the Curtis Office Building. It was anticipated that litigation in this case would be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court since constitutional issues were involved.
1993: Expert witness in The Matter of the Definition of Legal Fees Payable to the Estate of Andy Warhol on appraisal methodology and blockage discount. At issue was the valuation of an estate claimed to be in excess of $900 million. This was probably the most important art valuation case ever to be tried in the U.S.
1992: Expert witness in Goldman v. Barnett. The case involved appraisals issued by art dealers.
1985: Expert witness for the Treasury Department in United States of America v. Jarelco, Inc. As a result of this action, the Treasury Department was able to reclaim more than $50 million in lost revenue.