Art adviser Lisa Schiff has made a career cutting deals for the rich and famous. Her client list has included Leonardo DiCaprio, and Young Paris once serenaded her at Art Basel. She’s been quoted and featured with regularity in the media, including The New York Times, Architectural Digest, and CNN.
But now some ugly accusations about how she finances her high-flying lifestyle threaten to shatter her image.
Two clients who were once her very close friends filed a in 2017. “When people come in, they often leave quickly because they feel threatened, make mistakes, or they’re taken advantage of. So I’m trying to help people understand.”
Schiff and her companies, the lawsuit noted, sometimes purchased art on their own and then sold the pieces to clients. Last year, a New York Times reporter asked Schiff about another element of complexity in her business, saying “You’re an art adviser, but you also sell art that your clients own. Isn’t that a conflict of interest?” Schiff replied that she treats those two services “as very different businesses…I can’t offer my clients’ things to my other clients, because then I’m representing both sides. You have to be transparent.”.
In 2019, in another article in the Times, Barasch discussed her extensive collaborations with Schiff. At the time, they had amassed a collection of “some 600 pieces,” the story said, and they went to great pains each year to modify the way the art was displayed in Barasch’s apartment.
Schiff, Barasch said, was her “partner in crime.”