By Gabriela Resto-Montero
MANHATTAN — The Metropolitan Museum of Art filed suit against a British collector Tuesday over a $2.5 million piece of post-modern artwork they say the man has refused to return, the New York Post reported.
Collector Robert Wylde purchased the Mark Tansey painting, "The Innocent Eye Test" last year, according to the paper.
But museum officials claim that the work's previous owner — failed Chelsea art gallery owner Charles Cowles — had promised the institution 31 percent ownership from 1988 -2004, and that after that time the museum became part owner with Cowles' mom, Jan Cowles, the Post reported.
The museum had the 10-foot by-6 1/2-foot depiction of a cow gazing at a portrait of cows on display from 1988 - 2004, then returned it to Cowles and his mother on the understanding that Cowles would display it at his home.
Instead, when Cowles' gallery failed last year, he sold the painting to Wylde through the Gagosian Gallery, the paper reported.
Wylde slapped the Gagosian with a $6 million lawsuit over the sale in March, the paper reported.