Monday, May 24, 2004

Pilfered from ArtsJournal: A Chicago art dealer has been charged with attempting to sell fake Picassos in Milwaukee.

Picasso signature I don't know of any DC area art dealer selling fake Picassos, but there are many, many "galleries" that do have a Picasso scam going on - not just in our area, but since many of these "galleries" are actually chain or franchise stores passing as art galleries, the scam goes on all over the country.

You know the type of "gallery" that I am talking about: They sell a lot of "pretty" decorative art, loads of gyclees on canvas by mass production, decorative artists with European-sounding names and "art" by famous people who are not artists or art by Hollywood actors. You can find these "galleries" in expensive rent areas (where a reputable gallery couldn't afford a space) such as M Street in Georgetown, most of La Jolla in California, in malls, and around Bethesda.

The scam is probably not illegal, but it is certainly unethical.

Here's how it works:

Many of Picasso's etching plates are apparently owned by some of his children, and they continue to use the plates to print their father's work ad nauseum. Then, the Picasso offspring sign the work with their last name, which conveniently is also "Picasso."

The sales pitch for the print then describes it as "this is a Picasso etching made from the original plate and it is signed."

They never (unless one asks) tell you that the Picasso signature that you see on the piece is NOT Pablo Picasso's signature but a Picasso son or daughter's signature (which of course now looks a lot like their father's)

So hapless buyers think that they are buying a print signed by the world's greatest artist, when in fact they are acquiring a print from his plate, but signed by one of his children.

Not illegal perhaps - but unethical.

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