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The Case of Dubious Due Diligence

The Case of Dubious Due Diligence

The Case of the Olympic Posters
The Case of the Olympic Posters

The Case of the Solitary Surrealist
The Case of the Solitary Surrealist

The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt
The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt

The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity
The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity

The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys
The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys

The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard
The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard

The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910
The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of the Archangel Michael Defeating Satan

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2

The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light
The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light

The Case of Leni and the Nuba
The Case of Leni and the Nuba

The Case of the Seductive Souvenir
The Case of the Seductive Souvenir

The Case of the Irish Surrealist
The Case of the Irish Surrealist

The Case of the Developing Dalí
The Case of the Developing Dalí

The Case of Nano-D Technology
The Case of Nano-D Technology

The Case of Dabatable Donations
The Case of Debatable Donations

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of the Long-tailed Monkey

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of Edgar Heap of Birds

Silent Song
The Case of the Silent Song

Aficionado
The Case of Alex and the Art Aficionado

Portrait
The Case of the Privacy of the Publicity Photo

Potter
The Case of the Potter's Portraits

The Case of the Coy Cornelius Krieghoff

The Case of the Political Portraitist

The Case of the Reconsidered Revolution

The Case of the Anabiotic Abbey

The Case of the Phoney Picasso

The Case of Setsuko Piroche

The Case of being on the Forest Edge with Vern Simpson

The Case of Being at the End of the Storm with Loren Adams

The Case of Being: Under the Table with Thomas

The Case of Wyland's Whales on Walls

The Case of A.Y. Jackson's Smart River (Alaska)

The Case of Red Fish with Blue Breasts

The Case of Looe Poole

The Case of Camaldoli

The Case of MS

The Case of the Misattributed Emily Carrs

The Case of the Doubtful Dürer

The Case of the Purloined Picasso

The Case of the Defrocked Duchess of Devonshire

The Case of the First Wife

The Case of the Dodford Priory

The Case of the Unknown Actor

Art Services & Materials


Confessions Back February/March 2017

Untitled, Anders Zorn or Asger Jorn

Untitled, Anders Zorn or Asger Jorn

Practical Art History
(or Confessions of a Fine Art Appraiser)

by Jim Finlay
Finlay Fine Art
finlayfineart.com

Chapter 55. The Case of Dubious Due Diligence

In the recent Globe and Mail article “eBay Takes On Counterfeiters With New Authentication Program,” Spencer Soper describes eBay’s new marketing tool. To prevent the sale of counterfeit products on its online auction site, various brand experts will authenticate luxury items with a pledge by eBay that the sale will be nullified if the item is found to be a fake.

One concern is qualifying the expertise of the brand expert. How well informed is the brand expert who will determine authenticity? For luxury brand items such as designer accessories, including handbags, shoes or perfume, the manufacturer will be the legitimate source to make a declaration of genuineness. For other luxury items, such as Modernist paintings, due diligence on the part of the informed expert is crucial to establishing authenticity.

Recently, I was asked by a client to review a certificate of authenticity and the appraisal certificate for an Anders Zorn painting and offer a professional opinion about the appropriateness of the appraiser’s findings. The certificate of authenticity, dated 2009, described the painting as an original gouache on paper with the abstract forms and colours attributed to the Swedish painter Anders Zorn (1860–1920). The piece, measuring 11x12 inches, was signed “Jorn” in the lower right corner.

The appraisal certificate accurately described the painting and placed the replacement value between $35,000 to $40,000 USD.

However, I noted, it’s unusual for a painting bearing a signature to be described as “attributed to,” as it generally suggests that the painting is by a named artist, but unsigned. The fact that this painting was “attributed to” Anders Zorn by the appraiser suggests that, stylistically, it is not representative of works Zorn is best known for. Zorn was a classically trained painter who is best known for his realistic figurative works, which include full-length portraits, depictions of the female nude and the landscape.

This painting, however, is stylistically very similar to the work of Cobra artist Asger Jorn, and is signed “Jorn” in the lower right. Danish painter Asger Jorn (1914–1973) is best known for his paintings, lithographs and etchings, where he experimented with spontaneous line and semi-figurative representation, which are two fundamental aspects of the distinctive Cobra visual language.

The appraiser/authenticator, in this case, was lacking in due diligence and appears to have confused the works of Anders Zorn with those of Asger Jorn. Presumably, the appraiser/authenticator read the signature as “Zorn,” but did not investigate further to confirm the similarities of style, subject matter and composition between this image and the images that Anders Zorn is best known for.

The irony is that, although misattributed to Anders Zorn, this painting is probably by Asger Jorn, and is probably worth the appraised value.

Next: The Case of Jack Shadbolt’s Tree of Life

 Wed, Feb 8, 2017