[image-1] A Charleston County judge ordered gallery owner Rebekah Jacob to pay $46,900 to an artist last month after she sold his paintings and failed to compensate him, according to court documents.
The order, issued on March 6, comes after a default judgment against Jacob in August 23 for “failure to answer, demurrer, or otherwise plead or appear.”
Jacob must pay Georgia-based oil painter Ed Rice $15,075 for three sold works, one of them a series of nine paintings, each with a different architectural motif, titled “Nine Barns.”
The court also awarded Rice treble damages, tripling his compensation under state law, and attorney’s fees of $1,675, making for a total award of $46,900.
Jacob was the subject of a CP cover story in August that cited eight artists who said they had similar experiences of avoidance, miscommunication, and other misdeeds with Rebekah Jacob Gallery.
In May 2016, a county judge ruled against Jacob and ordered her to pay close to $68,000 to a Washington, D.C.-based gallery and an Atlanta-based artist. Jacob appeared in court in February alleging that she did not have enough assets to pay, though she had yet to submit financial documents to prove that. She is due back in court for the case on April 27.
In his initial complaint filed on May 11, Rice describes entering into an agreement with Jacob in April 2014 that soon turned into a nightmare. Rice alleged that Jacob told him that the “Nine Barns” paintings had sold that November for $22,500, but that she failed to provide a detailed statement of accounts within 14 days and did not pay Rice his half of the profits within 30 days, as stipulated in their contract.
The same vend-and-vanish act took place with two other works, according to Rice’s complaint.
Rice’s contract was terminated in April 2016 after multiple failed attempts to get in touch with Jacob. Jacob returned the rest of Rice’s unsold pieces.
Still, he never saw a dime of the profits made from the pieces Jacob was able to sell.
“I’ve been selling my work since I was 15 years old,” Rice said in a phone interview with CP. “I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve only dealt with honorable galleries in the past, so this is my first experience with a gallery not behaving as it should.
“The sale of my work is my sole means of support, so if I’m not paid, it’s not a good thing.”
Jacob still operates her downtown gallery space at 49 John Street and regularly updates her Instagram.
Rice says he’s satisfied with the judgment, but remains “incredulous” that Jacob is still freely running her business.
“A gallery, in a perfect world, should not be allowed to abuse its artists with impunity,” he said.