Kevorkian Painting Auction Terminated? Museum Claims Ownership of Dr. Death’s Artwork

Jack Kevorkian "Fever." Courtesy CBS Detroit

A little while back we told you about how Jack Kevorkian—“Dr. Death”—would be auctioning his so-called “grotesque” paintings at the New York Institute of Technology. The auction would include “fourteen paintings currently in the collection of the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Massachusetts.”

Well, reader: The plot thickens! We should have known this Kevorkian business wouldn’t be cut and dry.

According to Courthouse News Service, the Armenian Museum now claims that Kevorkian himself donated his artworks to the museum, and not the niece who claims them. She is Kevorkian’s only inheritor and most of the proceeds to the auction are set to go to her.

The museum says that in 1999 they were approached by Ariana Gallery in Royal Oak, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, to transfer 17 paintings, some writings, musical compositions and “a sweater and a hat.” So here’s where things get complicated: the museum claims that Kevorkian’s sister attended the opening of the exhibition of the work (you see, good ol’ Jack was in prison at the time) and that Kevorkian had “instructed her to inform [the museum] that the art work was a gift… from Dr. Kevorkian.” Apparently, the announcement “was made before a substantial audience and was reported by a local newspaper.”

In 2008, the museum mounted a second exhibition and “Dr. Kevorkian stated that he was very pleased that he had donated his entire collection to [them],” according to the museum’s complaint.

However, in a will written 17 days before his death, Kevorkian left his entire estate to his niece.

Kevorkian’s attorney informed the museum the paintings were scheduled to be auction on October 27. The museum refused to give them up. We know this disappoints all you Kevorkian fans out there who want to own that canvas with the frame painted in Dr. Death’s own blood that we told you about. Alas.

Kevorkian Painting Auction Terminated? Museum Claims Ownership of Dr. Death’s Artwork