A trio of celebrated quilters from rural Alabama on Monday resolved lawsuits against an Atlanta art dealer whom they accused of cheating...
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A trio of celebrated quilters from rural Alabama on Monday resolved lawsuits against an Atlanta art dealer whom they accused of cheating them out of their rightful earnings.
Attorneys for both parties asked for the lawsuits to be dismissed, but they would not give any details of how the claims were resolved.
The elaborate multicolored quilts have been made for years by the ladies of the community of Gee’s Bend, often in the small community center where they gather for lunch most days. The quilts have been celebrated as prime examples of Southern folk art, displayed in prestigious museums and were chosen for the U.S. Postal Service’s American Treasures stamp series.
A major traveling exhibition of the quilts showed last year at Tacoma Art Museum. The quilts also have been featured in Seattle at Greg Kucera Gallery and the Seattle Art Museum has acquired a quilt for the permanent collection.
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The lawsuits claimed that three of the quilters — Annie Mae Young, Lucinda Pettway Franklin and Loretta Pettway — were cheated financially by Atlanta art dealer William Arnett, his sons, Paul and Matt Arnett, and Tinwood Ventures of Atlanta.
The Arnetts helped establish a collective for the quilters and promoted and marketed their works to a wider audience.
U.S. District Judge Callie Granade of Mobile dismissed the suits in an order issued Monday and said the parties would pay their own legal costs.
An attorney representing the quilters, Peter Burke of Birmingham, said the lawsuits “have been resolved.” He would not elaborate.
An attorney for the defendants, Greg Hawley of Birmingham, would only say that his clients “are pleased the cases have been dismissed.”
Franklin claimed in her lawsuit that the Arnett family stole from her two quilts that she said were more than 100 years old. Pettway claimed she was tricked into signing a copyright document, even though she could not read.
Attorneys for the Arnetts had called the lawsuits frivolous.
Some of the quilters were scheduled to appear this week before the Alabama delegation at the Democratic National Convention.