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CURRENT COLUMN

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

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

by Jim Finlay
Finlay Fine Art & Wealth Management
jim_finlay@telus.net

Chapter 18. The Case of the Phoney PIcasso (Caveat Emptor)

Recently I was asked by a client to authenticate a drawing signed by Picasso (Pablo Ruiz Picasso). My client had purchased the drawing through an on-line auction (fortunately subject to an authentication report) with the proviso that all funds would be refunded in full should the drawing be found not to be authentic.

Phoney Picasso

Untitled (drawing) after Picasso

Real Picasso

Picasso's original painting

As an art object, the piece which was matted and framed, presented poorly and was in mediocre condition. The glass was absent and part of the front surface of the drawing had been adhered to the underside of the matting. Both of these attributes were problematic as, in general, a framed drawing is under glass and the artwork itself is never glued permanently to any other framing material.

The image, executed with coloured pencil on paper, was approximately 7-1/8" x 9-1/8" with the “Picasso” signature placed at the top left. The drawing was rendered on standard 8-1/2" x 11" blank bond paper which appeared to have some age but was not, however, of an artist's quality. There was evidence of foxing to the lower half of the work outside of the image.

Technically the work itself was poorly executed. It appeared stiff, laboured and pedestrian, and exhibited a lack of spontaneity, inventiveness and creativity, which characterized Picasso's drawings. The drawing was unusually small with the image placed awkwardly in the centre of the page, and evoked a sense of a hesitancy and timidity. The signature was also problematic. The letter “P” and the double “s” were not similar to other known genuine signatures of Picasso where the “ss”, for example, is usually written and not printed as in this case.

Research revealed that this image was after a mirror image of a 64 x 46 cm (roughly 25 xx 18 inches) oil on paper painting entitled Buste de femme. It was painted by Pablo Ruiz Picasso at Royan, France on June 11, 1940 and is, at present, in a private collection.

In conclusion, the perpetrator most probably photographed the original painting, developed the negative in reverse, and proceeded to copy that image on paper. Or, he may have simply copied the reflection of the painting in a mirror. The draftsman has deliberately placed the signature of Picasso in the same location as it appears in the original painting to help create an illusion of authenticity. The perpetrator was obviously an amateur or perhaps a student as the drawing is a very poor rendering of the mirror image. Little attention was paid to modelling and the drawing appears linear and flat. The use of colour is tentative and the piece lacks the bold palette one can expect from a work by Picasso.

The drawing is not a precursor to the painting. It is not listed in the catalogue raisonée of Picasso's drawings and since it almost exactly reproduces the image in reverse, it does not appear to be preparatory to the original painting. This drawing is not by the hand of Pablo Ruiz Picasso.

Next: The Case of the Anabiotic Abbey.

 Sun, Jun 7, 2009