June 2018

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Museums and Galleries

Art Market

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And the problem with a Basquiat is that any child with enough paint and toy brushes can knock off several dozen during recess.


This is a somewhat sensationalist story from TAN. I would like to see the legal statutes, per nation, which apply to prohibiting the compilation of an artists works.

What is at stake is money. The La Bella Principessa case is a clear example of the bind experts (at Christies in this instance) can find themselves in if their attribution gets overturned by a superior analysis.

However, the language that now seems to accompany documentation provided with auction items seems to include a disclaimer firmly putting the onus back on the potential buyer.

Just last week, when researching the "Workshop Raphael" piece on sale at Sotheby's - there was just such a disclaimer attached to the "condition report" of the painting. I discussed it my report of that piece last week, including a pdf of that report. Your readers are invited to peruse it here:


To cut a long story short though, the art market has gotten wiser and is increasingly putting the onus back on the buyers to supply the expertise.

This places scholars in a precarious position of course, though in my mind if someone like Kemp or Joannides publishes a statement that a work is by Leonardo, Titian, etc they better be willing to justify their results because of the financial impact their findings may have. This highlighs the need for a sound, reproducible methodology more than ever, where the same results can be arrived upon at each assessment, not the subjective mish-mash connoisseurship currently happens to be.

Thanks for the fascinating report!

David Packwood

Actually I quite like some of Basquiat Bob.

h, yes the auction houses are almost fireproof, legal wise- it's scholars whose opinions carry weight that are exposed. Yes, I did read your post on the Raphael workshop piece. I didn't know about that, just the Julius II variant.

H Niyazi

Cheers David!

I just hope I can get to the end of the year without another piece related to Raphael popping up! When that Julius II news popped up last week, I was inundated with requests to do a write-up of it! Being related to my project, I was happy to oblige. It will be interesting to see how the NGL/Uffizi responds. Whatever we may say of the polish of the end product, the pentimento more closely matching the Stanze fresco of Julius as Gregory IX is a fascinating discovery. It makes we wonder if any of the other listed copies have this feature?



What a great site this. I love the neat layout? Thanks for the comments too.


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