Defamation lawsuit over alleged fake Western painting tossed


RENO, Nev. (AP) – A federal judge has thrown out a defamation suit a Western art collector filed against a prestigious auction house and the owner of a Reno gallery who claimed an early 20th century cowboy painting he sold for $750,000 was a fake.

The judge in Reno dismissed the lawsuit last week against Peter Stremmel Galleries and the Coeur d’Alene Art Auction of Nevada.

Gerald Peters, who owns galleries in New York City and Santa Fe, New Mexico, said in the lawsuit filed last year that the defendants told his longtime friend and business partner R.D. Hubbard a 1937 oil painting wasn’t an original work of Frank Tenney Johnson, who is well-known for his paintings of cowboys.

Defense lawyers argued Peters wasn’t maligned because the statements about the authenticity of “The Sun and the Rain” didn’t refer directly to Peters.

Judge Miranda Du agreed and dismissed the case Friday.