Stella sued over family art sale

Fashion designer Stella McCartney is embroiled in a legal battle over the fate of her late grandfather’s multi-million-pound art collection.

Fashion designer Stella McCartney is embroiled in a legal battle over the fate of her late grandfather’s multi-million-pound art collection.

The daughter of former Beatle Paul McCartney is being sued together with six relatives by the stepsons of entertainment lawyer Lee Eastman, who want a share of the £27.5m (€40.3m) the works raised at auction after his death.

The collection, which included pieces by Matisse, Picasso, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning, went under the hammer at Christie’s in New York in November.

The plaintiffs, Peter, Paul and Philip Sprayregen, claim McCartney and the six other beneficiaries wrongfully sold the art when it should have been shared with the estate of their late mother, Monique Eastman, and are seeking $1m (€843,400) compensation.

Linda McCartney, Stella McCartney’s mother, was Mr Eastman’s daughter from his first marriage.

Monique was his second wife and the Sprayregens were her children from her previous marriage.

The suit, filed last month in New York Supreme Court, says Monique owned some of the works outright and co-owned others with Mr Eastman.

It only identifies one disputed painting by name, Robert Motherwell’s Elegy to the Spanish Republic, which sold for $2.1m (€1.8m) to a private collector.

The plaintiffs also lay claim to “additional paintings” they say their mother received from her husband or from artists.

McCartney said in a statement: “I had no legal say over the decision made by the estate’s executors, and I have only very recently become aware of this.”

More in this section

#ChoosetoChallenge

Did you miss our Virtual Event with Alison O’Connor, Aoife Moore, Clodagh Finn, Derval O’Rourke and Vicky Phelan