Art Lawsuits ?!

In on February 6, 2009 at 2:11 am

Since it’s possible to sue people for ANYTHING these days, I was not surprised to come across an article about an art gallery being sued by clients claiming to have been sold non-authentic art that they believed to be real.  According to the article, “The art ‘was later found by experts to either be fake or have forged signatures, or to be heavily overpriced and misrepresented as bargains and investments.'” — WOW, making a fake signature, then marketing the work for an inflated price as the real thing, is A LOT of trouble to be going through…  I’m one of those people that’s constantly amazed by the amount of effort criminals invest into their craft.

Daumier, Les Gens de Justice


I have always wondered about things like this.  I wonder how often lawsuits around “fake art” arise.  I’m sure that art vendors take strides to make sure that what they’re selling is accurate (it seems like part of the job … as advocates of the arts it seems as though they would also advocate the purity of sales) but at the same time, I can imagine the business of selling fake art (that passes as real art) could be quite lucrative.  A friend of mine is taking an Art Law class at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art and told me that they discuss this issue a lot in class.  She mentioned that auction houses, especially, are concerned with ensuring an accurate and complete provenance for their works because of how public their sales are.  The odds of hearing about fake-art scandal at Sotheby’s (because of the sheer size of the institution) is more likely to make the front page of a newspapers than a scandal at an art gallery.  

Anyways, food for thought; as an arts advocate I’ll try to resist posting dark articles and happenings like this, but sometimes you gotta throw in the ugly with the good – the lesson in all of this is:  buyer’s beware!

Oh, also, I came across a great blog all about Art Law and it’s worth looking up if you’re interested in more information about this.  The URL is:


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