Lined with upscale boutiques, blue-chip art galleries, and palm trees, Worth Avenue is the Madison Avenue of Palm Beach. This morning, the stately boulevard had an unusual visitor: the Feds.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service raided the gallery Danieli Fine Art on Wednesday, according to multiple sources on the ground.
Photo by Ty Cooperman
A representative for the FBI confirmed to Artnet News that agents are “in the vicinity of that location [Danieli Fine Art] conducting court ordered law enforcement activity. There is no threat to public safety. No further information is available at this time.”
Calls to the gallery did not go through and emails sent to the gallery did not immediately receive a response.
During the raid, authorities taped off the gallery’s windows and covered the perimeter in caution tape. The scene immediately attracted attention from nearby dealers and other businesses.
“When I arrived today, the FBI was on site,” said Steven Henry, a senior partner at Paula Cooper, a New York gallery that operates a branch on Worth Avenue. “The space was taped off. FBI, IRS, and local police were coming out. Right now the space is completely tapered over. I suspect that there’s some illegal activity. But I don’t know exactly what.”
Photo by Ty Cooperman
Danieli Fine Art’s website is relatively short on information, but displays images of Andy Warhol’s Mao and what looks like an Auguste Rodin sculpture alongside a long list of artists broken out by nationality. (They include Wassily Kandinsky, Rufino Tamayo, Robert Motherwell, and Gerhard Richter.) A person familiar with Danieli said it mostly focuses on secondary-market sales and described the interior as being decked out in red velvet carpets and chandeliers.
A local news station, WPTV, posted video footage of the raid, which it described as “a large FBI presence.”
Ty Cooperman, the director of nearby TW Fine Art, told Artnet News he saw “a beautiful array of armored vehicles and agents” with various agency logos on the back as he walked to work around 10 a.m.
“It’s pretty undeniable that Worth Ave is the most interesting place in the art world right now,” Cooperman said.
No information on the charges against the gallery was immediately available.
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.