Forged Signatures

Dear Kobi, While doing research on fine art prints I came across your site and rather enjoyed your forum on Picasso prints. The reason for the research and even more concern after reading your forum is contained below.

I recently purchased a hand signed Matisse print online from a Canadian dealer. Upon receiving it the certificate of authenticity was suspect. I asked for details or credentials, such as your association with ifaa, and was not given any. The print is from the cover of the Verve 13 publication and I am fairly sure of its authenticity. However, I am concerned with the signature. There is a complete guarantee with the print but I would feel better giving it as a gift knowing the signature wasn’t forged. Do you authenticate or can you recommend someone who could authenticate this print, in particular the signature? Any help in this matter is greatly appreciated. – Robert D.

Different Kinds of Signatures

Dear Dr. Ledor (Kobi), I wished to thank you for the very thoughtful and clear discussion of the caveats that one must consider before purchasing art — especially over the Internet. When I was very young, I went to museums first as part of school trips, then as part of art appreciation courses in high school and college. Eventually going to museums became a part of my life. Nonetheless, until recently, it never occurred to me to buy lithographs from great artists. In light of my background and modest means, being a collector of anything other than original paintings or unknown artists seemed beyond my reach. However, I always have been intrigued by lithographs — especially those of Picasso. I was ready to make my first purchase of a Picasso lithograph until I visited your website. Then I was reminded of what I should have known based on my professional work, one must be careful of fraud before we take any decision of importance to us.

There are terms that I am just not certain that I understand correctly. For example, I read that some lithographs are “signed by artist,” “signed by artist in crayon or ink,” “signed by artist in pencil after printing” (Is it possible to sign it in pencil before the printing?), etc. There are several ways an artist can sign his print. One is on the paper upon which it has been printed. This is generally done in pencil or ink. An artist can also sign his name on the plate or stone. That of course cannot be done in pencil but is accomplished in the same way the print is created (e.g. with a lithographic crayon on the stone) and at the same time. Sincerely, Ron N.