Thursday, February 22, 2024

Hawking Helly

Jailbird art dealer Hillel Nahmad makes a return to polite society after being granted permission to travel to Art Basel

 

Having served just five months of his one year and one day sentence for his role in a £63 million ($100 million, €87.7 million) illegal gambling ring, Hillel “Helly” Nahmad, has returned to public prominence by travelling from New York to Basel to hawk artworks including a Monet, a Picasso and a Rothko.

 

Hawking Helly - Hillel Helly Nahmad at Art Basel 2015
Helly Nahmad in 2012 with Sir Phillip Green at the “Delirium Tremens” opening at Joseph Nahmad Contemporary in New York

 

Allowed to travel only after Judge Jesse Furman granted him permission “that extends only to the requested travel to Switzerland for business purposes”, Nahmad, the 38-year old son of the prominent dealer David Nahmad, has a booth at Art Basel this week with his firm, the Helly Nahmad Gallery.

 

Hawking Helly - Hillel Helly Nahmad at Art Basel 2015
The Helly Nahmad Gallery was raided by the FBI in July 2013
Hawking Helly - Hillel Helly Nahmad at Art Basel 2015
The ex-Bunny Mellon 1955 Mark Rothko on offer at Art Basel on the Helly Nahmad Gallery stand

 

Nahmad is marketing rhe most expensive artwork on offer in the show – a £31.5 million ($50 million, €43.9 million) 1955 Mark Rothko, Untitled – and may well have also have run into one of those drawn into his illegal betting ring, Leonardo DiCaprio. The actor is said to be at the fair but the two, sadly for readers, have thus far failed to engage in appearing in a selfie together.

 

 

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