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Fine Art/Chagall Lithograph


Thanks again for the prompt response!

How should I confirm the forgery?  Any idea about a reputable firm that specializes in this type of authentication?

Followup To

Question -
Thanks for the quick response!

Here is some more information from the certificate of authenticity:

It's an "offset lithograph of a linoleum cut on paper"
"Signed and numbered in pencil by Chagall"

Any idea of this piece's worth?

Also, what drives the value of offset lithographs that are signed and numbered by the artist?

Followup To

Question -
My wife and I recently purchased a Chagall lithograph at auction.  It is called "il y a la-bas aux aguets une croix", is signed by Chagall in the lower right corner and is numbered 18/40 in the lower left hand corner.  Gerald Cramer is listed as the publisher, and the piece was authenticated by Nathan D. Isen, with a composition date circa 1984 (a year prior to Chagall's death).

My question is two-fold:  1) Is this lithograph authentic, and 2) What is the retail value of the piece?

Thanks so much for your help!


Answer -
First, I admit I am not familiar with the piece.  Of course, that is because I cannot find it in the Official Catalog Raisonee of ALL the original lithographs created by Chagall--and the last volume, #VI, shows no lithographs created after 1978.  Authentic?  Certainly not an original lithograph created after 1978.
Second, without a Mourlot No. [catalog no.], which EVERY Chagall lithograph has, the value, along with authenticity, signature, etc. is dubious.  Ask for a Mourlot No.  Good luck.  Alan Klevit.

Check out Alan's latest book, ART COLLECTING 101, at

Answer -
"offset lithograph" is a euphemism for reproduction.  And I would be surprised if Chagall would sign it. There certainly is no record he ever did.  And there are hundreds, if not thousands, of offsets and other memorabilia that are supposedly signed by Chagall, and are likely forgeries.  I'm not saying this is, it is just mind-boggling he would authorize and sign an edition of 40 offsets. And as an offset, it is highly questionable they would only produce 40.  Sorry to tell you this, buy I don't like anything about it.  Alan.

Scott--To reiterate:  I am not saying it is a forgery.  Just a lot of things about the edition that I don't like.  I didn't even add, why would Chagall want to sign an offset edition of something he already did, when he was about 98 years old?  I wouldn't buy it; doesn't mean it's no good, just doesn't pass my "reasonableness" test.  I don't know who good authenticate the signature.  Perhaps call Sotheby's.  Their research department has a lot more resources than I do.  Good luck.  Alan.

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Alan Klevit


I can provide sound advice on buying, collecting & understanding fine art, especially original works by 20th century masters and leading contemporary artists. I can also explain techniques used to create original works and offer tips on how to tell whether or not a piece is an original work of art.


I have been active in the art world for twenty-seven years. I owned and operated four galleries and a wholesale showroom on both coasts. We specialized in original works by 20th century masters and emerging artists. I have been an art consultant, artist's representative, lecturer, auctioneer, and curator. I had a radio show for two years, "Today's Art World with Alan Klevit" [Washington, D.C.]; hosted two television shows on the arts for six years [Los Angeles Area]; have written for numerous local papers and international art magazines; and currently write a syndicated column, "The Art Beat." I conduct art auctions for charities throughout the United States, and am a frequent speaker/auctioneer on upscale cruise ships, and at civic organizations and local television shows.


Undergraduate and graduate degrees from Georgetown University and The American University

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