| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Jan 25 Billionaire businessman Henry
Kravis and his wife have sued art collector Donald L. Bryant Jr.
over three paintings by the renowned artist Jasper Johns that
the Kravises say they bought jointly with Bryant with the
intention of sharing them, then eventually donating them to New
York's Museum of Modern Art.
Kravis, co-founder of New York-based private equity firm KKR
& Co., and his wife, Marie Josee, decided to purchase the
"Tantric Detail" series with Bryant in 2008, according to the
lawsuit, filed on Thursday in New York state Supreme Court in
They all agreed to transfer possession of the works to one
another's chosen residence annually, so they each could enjoy
displaying them until they were donated to the museum, the
The lawsuit says the arrangement worked from 2008 through
2012. But it charges that Bryant refused to transfer the works
to the Kravises on Jan. 14 this year.
Instead, the Kravises say, Bryant is holding the works
"hostage," until he gets a new agreement without the pledge to
give the works to the museum.
"The pledge was a condition of the sale of the art works,"
the lawsuit says, "which Mr. Bryant now selfishly insists on
A message left for Bryant, founder and chairman emeritus of
the Bryant Group, a St. Louis employee benefits firm, was not
immediately returned. A MoMa spokeswoman declined comment.
The museum announced the acquisition of the Johns works in a
2008 press release that said the trio of paintings were a
"promised gift" of Bryant, then a MoMA trustee, and Marie Josee
Kravis, president of the board of the museum, and her husband,