Monday, January 23, 2017

"This is the second painting that has been deemed a fake in what may be a widening old masters’ forgery case that could go back several years."

I'm a little late on this one, but Sotheby's is suing a collector who consigned what was thought to be a Parmigianino to it in 2012.  It sold for $842,500.

Tim Schneider connects the story to some other recent Sotheby's-related news:  "The testing that pegged 'St. Jerome' as counterfeit was performed by Orion Analytical, the scientific-research firm that Tad Smith and company just acquired last month to help combat the industry's persistent forgery problem. While the house undoubtedly would have preferred to uncover the foul play pre-sale, the Parmigianino case doubles as a niche marketing opportunity. If you're a dealer or collector specializing in artwork of ANY past era, wouldn't you prefer to do business with Sotheby's––the auction house that can now definitively prove the legitimacy of the works it offers as a normal part of the consignment process––instead of Christie's, which has made no obvious effort to update its practices on this potentially costly front?"

Motion to dismiss in the Golub fraud case

Story here.  Background here.

"To the dismay of many street artists, it remains unclear whether copyright law affords protection for unauthorized street art."

Hughes Hubbard & Reed's Lena Saltos and Angela Lelo:  Unchartered Territory: Enforcing An Artist's Rights In Street Art.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tell me again about the public trust (two key post-war works edition)

MoMA is selling a Dubuffet and a Mathieu.

"Théorème d’Alexandroff entered Moma’s collection in 1964 as part of a bequest from the American lawyer Samuel Rosenman; the Dubuffet work was bequeathed to the museum in 1990 by Mary Sisler."

That's interesting, because I thought I heard that (part of) the rationale for the AAMD position on deaccessioning is a concern with the message sales can send to potential donors:  Why wouldn't somebody say, Why should I give this to you? What guarantee do I have that you're not going to sell this tomorrow?

I must have misheard.

"Paddle8, the online auction house which merged with now-embattled competitor Auctionata last May, has secured an investor to buy it out for an undisclosed amount ..." (UPDATED)

". . . while its parent company Auctionata AG has filed for preliminary insolvency, representatives for both firms confirmed today."

UPDATE:  Tim Schneider:  "Auctionata and Paddle8's ... difficulties suggest that the real flaw here is the midlevel digital-auction business itself. All the signs suggest that the market niche just isn't growing fast enough to sustain these two firms, either independently or combined. So regardless of whether Auctionata re-capitalizes or Paddle8 buys its freedom, it's plausible that neither will be long for this world. Online auctions––and online art sales more generally––may be the future. But sometimes the future is still too distant to save us."

Saturday, January 14, 2017

"I deny. I denounce. This fake art." (UPDATED)

Richard Prince has disavowed a work of his depicting Ivanka Trump.  It's unclear what his denial, denunciation, and disavowal will mean.  From Randy Kennedy's New York Times story:

"Joshua Holdeman, a Manhattan art adviser and a former vice chairman at Sotheby’s, said he believed Mr. Prince’s excommunication of the work would probably not cause collectors or museums to treat it as illegitimate in the long run and he added that it might indeed increase its value.

"'As far as the market is concerned, if an artist says a work isn’t by him, but it’s clear that he made it and presented it as his work, well it kind of is what it is,' Mr. Holdeman said. 'My intuition about this is that when history plays out, this will probably end up being a more culturally rich object than if this whole episode hasn’t happened.'"

Hyperallergic's Benjamin Sutton agrees "it may have the unintended consequence of making the work more (rather than less) valuable."  Good legal analysis from Nicholas O'Donnell here.  And a very interesting piece from Jerry Saltz on the “aesthetics” of the move.  He points out that there is a long tradition of artists creating work out of thin air:

"This is using language as law, as in 'I now pronounce you man and wife' or 'I sentence you to five years.' ...Whatever else these artists and Prince did they reduced art to some invisible essence, the will of the artist, making the artist primarily a conceptual creator or destroyer of worlds. ... But on Wednesday Prince moved things in the other direction, using that biblical power not to make but to take away — not to bestow but withdraw the art content of the work. This drop-dead simple yet loaded act is actually a quite profound and radical innovation, one that immediately suggests there may be dozens of new conceptual gestures and possibilities in this strange new conceptual universe artists find themselves now living in."

UPDATE:  Kenny Schachter isn't having it.

Thursday, January 12, 2017