Arts center caught in lawsuit over Kahlo exhibit

This undated photo provided by the New York Botanical Garden, a 1940 painting entitled “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird,” by Frida Kahlo is shown. The painting will join more than a dozen works by the artist at an exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx borough of New York. The exhibition runs from May 16 to Nov. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Frida Kahlo via The New York Botanical Garden)

MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) — A lawsuit filed by a German museum operator could spell the end of a Munster exhibit featuring replicas of works by a famed Mexican painter.

The Center for Visual and Performing Arts has a collection of replicas of Frida Kahlo’s work. But Kunstmuseum Gehrke-Remund GmbH of Baden-Baden, Germany, says the works belong to it, and it wants the items back.

The Times reports South Shore Arts paid about $20,000 to Global Entertainment 2 for rights to exhibit the work. The popular exhibit opened Nov. 16 and is scheduled to run through Jan. 25.

“It would be a bad thing to have to give it up, especially since we are only halfway through the run of the exhibit,” South Shore Arts Executive Director John Cain said.

The exhibit features more than 100 hand-painted, licensed recreations of Kahlo’s paintings executed in her Magic Realist style. It also includes 30 hand-woven and embroidered dresses from Mexico, jewelry, artifacts and photographs detailing Kahlo’s life, according to the center’s website.

The German firm, referred to as KGR in most of the court documents, claims to be the sole owner of the “Frida Kahlo Collection,” which it says includes 127 replicated paintings, more than 500 photographs, 75 dresses and pieces of jewelry and 100 artifacts, furniture and relics.

Hans-Juergen Gehrke, general manager and partner of KGR, estimated the value of the collection at about $3.5 million.

He said an agreement with Global Entertainment Properties 1 called for it to pay $360,000 to KGR by July 20, but the company only paid $100,000. He also said Global Entertainment violated a California court order in moving materials from San Diego to Indiana.

An attorney representing Global Entertainment could not be immediately reached for comment.

Cain said he has been told there are two groups of items and that the other group is in California.

KGR wants South Shore Arts to stop displaying the collection and wants the items inventoried and transferred to an appropriate climate-controlled location. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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