Dear Kobi, While on a cruise ship last month we purchased what was represented as an original Picasso lithograph signed by Picasso. We asked to see a Picasso catalogue while on the ship, but the auctioneer did not have one. We purchased a Dali piece that was listed in the Dali catalogue and the auctioneer seemed genuine, so we decided to also purchase Le Clown, since their art firm had a written guarantee. I forgot about looking in a Picasso catalog until this week. When I couldn’t find the piece I contacted the art wholesaler and was told the piece was printed after a drawing donated to the Paris Peace Movement in 1968 and published the same year by Yamat Arts, NY and printed by Mourlot.
Since I can’t find the piece in the Picasso Project or in the Block catalogue Le Clown seems very suspicious to me. I came across your forum from the Picasso Project and after reading your comments and your web site I would really appreciate your thoughts on Le Clown. Once we get Le Clown settled I’d like to check with you on some other pieces we have an interest in. We are new to collecting art, and the more we learn the more we like Chagall, Calder, Miro, Dali and Picasso.
Thank you, Sharon T.
Dear Sharon, I have a weak spot for anyone who gets “taken” on a cruise ship. I do a fair number of appraisals and I’ve come across many instances of so-called art that was sold on cruises. I have occasionally encountered an original work of art by Picasso that exchanged hands in that venue. But the buyer ends up, without exception in my experience, with an overpriced print, a fake, or both.
The salient term describing your purchase is “after”. If you read Chapter 13, entitled “Collecting Pitfalls”, in my online manuscript A Guide to Collecting Picasso’s Prints, you should know all about them. Your piece is not original. The only questions are whether it’s a real “after”, i.e. a work of art created by an artist other than Picasso, or just a photoreproduction, and whether the work was actually signed by Picasso. Of course, the art dealer on the cruise was entirely fraudulent in initially claiming that the piece was an original Picasso. It is not an original Picasso in ANY sense of the word. You’re very astute to conclude that your piece is a fake since it’s not in Bloch. Very few original Picasso lithographs are not included in that catalogue, and those are generally exceptionally rare, not cruise ship material. -Kobi