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Fine Art/Picasso artwork

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Question
Hi Dolly,

Thanks so much for the information. I hope others visiting your site will benefit as well. The response from the cc company, especially when they learned of the fraud involved, has been favorable so far. The process of disputing charges takes some time, but I will let you know how it works out...

regards,  Daniel
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Followup To

Question -
Hi Dolly,

Thank you again for your prompt response and the clarification on print definitions. I have not seen the article about Fine Art Treasures, which sadly may be the case for the many, many people who bought items from their show. I will use the article as needed to present my case with the cc company. If you could email it to me I would appreciate it. I am optimistic they will credit me on the charges, and that justice will be done as well.

Best wishes,  Daniel


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Followup To

Question -
Hi Dolly,

Thank you for your answer. If I could clarify a couple things, that would be helpful. First, the "other company" you mentioned that was producing and fraudulently signing fakes, that would be Fine Art Treasures Gallery, who had a TV auction? Unfortunately, they are the ones I bought these prints from. I will be trying to dispute the charges on my credit card, and your information will certainly prove very helpful.

Second, as a matter of education, when you say "original lithograph", do you mean an original work conceived and produced by the artist (Picasso in this case)that is made with lithographic or serigraphic processes? I read that Picasso was known to sign lithographs that were recreations of his large paintings that had been made into smaller prints by independent printmakers in France/Europe. They would make them and then get him to approve/sign them. In the lingo, are these then correctly called "after lithographs" since they are not original works, but based on original works? I also read that these "afters" would not necessarily  be catalogued, and are hard to trace back. This assumes,of course, that they are in fact not just reproductions shamelessly run on a modern printing press and fraudulently signed, as you indicated Fine Art Treasures Gallery was arrested for doing.     

Your advise about buying art from established and reputable art dealers and galleries is well taken. Thanks again for your time.

regards,  Daniel

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Question -
Hi Dolly,

I bought two Picasso works of art recently that were claimed by the seller to be "after" lithographs of Picasso. They have a COA indicating an "Editions, Paris copyright, France, 1946". The authenticator is David Smith, in Association with OJAZZ Fine Arts, Manchester England, UK. The two works are based on "The Bather" (1909) and "Face in the Window" (1937). I have looked at the prints with a 20X loop and do not see a dot matrix. The paper is delicate and appears to be old. The paper is 10" x 8" and the images are ~6"x 8". Both have a pencil signature (Picasso) in the margin on the lower right, but not numbered. The signatures do not look quite right to me based on website pics at various museums with Picasso lithographs/etchings. I have not been able to find any information that indicates that the authenticator, David Smith, is a real or valid person. Have you heard of him? I am thinking these are fakes and would like your opinion. Do you know if Picasso signed such things unnumbered like these? Is there any record in catalogues of these? I have photos of the prints and close-ups of the signatures that I could send to you if you give me an email address for such...

Thanks for your time.

Daniel

Answer -
Dear Daniel,

As you mentioned, there is no reference of an art authenticator by the name of David Smith and I am unable to locate an OJAZZ Fine Art. I did find numerous items listed currently and previously on EBay with similar authentication, but they did not receive any bids on starting prices of $150-300.

This leads me to believe that we are not the only collectors skeptical about the validity of the COAs. A COA is only as good as the authenticator’s ability to testify in court as to the items authenticity. Without any information available on either the authenticator or gallery, I would assume this individual, (if he could ever be located), would have a difficult time justifying their opinion in court.

I am also unable to locate specific lithographs of Picassos by the names on your COA’s; even using the French titles. Overall, they may be lithographs, but possibly from a published book/portfolio. If so, it is doubtful they are original signatures; but I cannot tell you that for certainty. Picasso did sign original lithographs that were not part of a numbered edition; such as exhibition posters, etc.

My suggestion is you take the prints to a museum or professional art consultant for their opinion. You will not get an authentication or appraisal, (without paying), but they may be able to give you a reality check.

On a previous question of authenticity on a Picasso lithograph, I researched the company giving the COA and found out they owned their own art printing company and they had numerous complaints from buyers who wanted their money back, but could not get it due to the company’s no return policy. I suggested to the collector that his Picasso was probably not an original and not signed by the artist. Two months later the FBI arrested the owner on art forgery charges. Apparently they were indeed printing copies of Picasso’s work and the owner was seen signing Picasso’s name by various employees.

I recommend to ALL serious collectors of Modern Master work; especially Picasso and Chagall which are notorious for fakes; that they buy their art from established and reputable art dealers and galleries. If they do not offer a guarantee with refund, stay away!

Best regards,
Dolly


Answer -
Dear Daniel,

According to most art resources, an original print as one printed by the artist or under his supervision from a master image made on plate, stone, or block by the artist himself. “After” usually denotes a piece of art that was modeled after another artists work, but may contain subtle changes. Many lithographs were done “after” original work by an artist and in many cases the artist approved the release of the edition. In most galleries, a print is considered original if approved by the artist or their estate. I used to work for a major gallery and art publisher and most of the artist’s limited editions were released as serigraphs. Obviously the artist does not create the multiple screens needed to produce the print; but they always have final approval with the ability to make corrections. These serigraphs are after an original painting, but they are changed in a minor way to make them different. We sold the signed and numbered prints as “original serigraphs” by the artist and this is perfectly legal and correct.

In most instances, if it is not in the artist’s catalogue raisonne; it is very difficult to sell as an original anything. Serious Salvador Dali collectors will not even consider a print that is not in the Field’s catalogue.

I’m sorry to hear that your purchase came from Fine Art Treasures. The owner is still in jail awaiting trial without bail. Another collector was able to cancel his credit card charges so I urge you to pursue that avenue right away. You should definitely use the information from the FBI in discussing the matter with your credit card company. Were you able to locate the article for submission to your cc company? If not, let me know and I will email it to you.

At this point any art that comes from that “gallery” is under a huge cloud of suspicion; whether it is original or not.

I wish you well.

Best regards,
Dolly


Answer -
Dear Daniel,

I have inserted the information on how to contact the FBI regarding your purchase and links to articles and information on Fine Art Treasures below. Another collector was initially denied the reversal of charges on their card, but they later recanted and removed them by using this information. Below is additional information he gave me on the case from the prosecuting attorney:

“Reportedly, a number of her former employees have testified that they witnessed her forging the signatures of famous artists onto cheap copies of original lithographs prior to going on the air. When they questioned her about the practice, she claimed the estates of Picasso and others had authorized her to sign the names of the artists.”

My hope is that other victims find this article and utilize the information and contact the FBI on their case.

Best regards,
Dolly

TV Fine Arts Auction Show Investigated For Fraud
Sep 7, 2006 4:51 pm US/Pacific (CBS) LOS ANGELES The art auction television and Internet show "Fine Art Treasures Gallery" was being investigated Thursday on suspicion of art fraud, according to the FBI.

Federal investigators served four search warrants and seven seizure warrants as part of investigation by the FBI's Art Crime Team, U.S. Attorney's Office, Internal Revenue Service and Los Angeles Police Department's Art Crime Team.

Fine Art Treasures Gallery was also doing business as Morei Inc. and Fine Art Network Inc.

The show is televised live across the country and can be seen worldwide on the Internet.

Anyone who thinks they may have been victimized by the company was asked to call the FBI at (310) 477-6565 or the LAPD at (213) 485-2524

Links:

http://losangeles.fbi.gov/pressrel/2006/la090706.htm

http://cbs2.com/entertainment/local_story_250195318.html

http://www.enewsbuilder.net/bbbsouthland/e_article000641867.cfm?x=b11,0,w


Answer
Dear Daniel,

I am happy to hear you are pursuing the charges with your cc company. I would love to hear how it works out for you. My email is: dolly12@aol.com

I do this as a service to collectors to help in their art collections and acquisitions with no monetary consideration. I always appreciate any positive feedback on my services with allexperts.

Best of luck and I am optimistic about your ability to recover your losses.

Kind regards,
Dolly

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Dolly D Headley

Expertise

I can assist with identification, acquisition, sell representation, and care of fine art prints and original paintings. Some of my artist specialties include Henri Toulouse Lautrec, California Artists, and the Modern Masters. I can also assist with information on getting professional appraisals and authentication.

Experience

Dolly D. Headley, owner of Headley Fine Art, LLC, has provided consultative art services to retail gallery clients in Sausalito, CA, and at www.headleyfineart.com since 1998. With over 14 years experience as a Senior Art Consultant, Gallery Director, and an extensive art research library; Ms. Headley has provided hundreds of people with her high quality personalized consultation services and solid guarantee of satisfaction. Dolly is a volunteer at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Organizations
Member of the Association of Online Appraisers.

Publications
The Fine Art Collectors News

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Science; Self taught with thousands of hours research and retail gallery consulting. Personalized mentorship from various experts in the industry.

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