Collecting

My French Doppelgänger

Hello Kobi, I’m a print enthusiast and collector from France. I own a small website which is a guide to print collecting: www.lithographie-collection.com . I have read your guide on collecting Picasso’s print with great amazement! I see we have a similar way of writing about our passion, and are compelled to help our reader enjoy their collecting journey (and avoiding scams on the way!). I was wondering if I could maybe translate some extracts of your guide in French, and publish it on my website. I would do the best translation possible, have it reviewed and, of course, link to you website and cite you has the author of the guide.  In exchange, I’d be glad to “give” you some of …

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A DIY-er’s Guide to Authenticating Picassos: THE VOLLARD SUITE, A CASE STUDY

(Please pardon the above ugly fake.) Just about every day an email arrives inquiring about the authenticity of their artwork.  Often the writer is seeking confirmation that what they have is an actual Picasso.  Just as often they’re sure of authenticity but are just seeking valuation or a sale.  I’d say at least 90% of the time, the object in question is a fake or forgery.  Usually the sender is grateful for whatever information I’ve provided, but sometimes it doesn’t go so well.   Like this instance, regarding several photographs, one of which is illustrated above: Q: Can I please get your input on these Picasso drawings. I appreciate your time and reply. A: In my opinion, they are all fakes. Q: Really …

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WORKS ON PAPER: A NEW CONVERT?

I’ve elected to post the correspondence with a collector new to us below, despite having covered all of the issues it raises in various contexts, because I feel that it draws together a variety of collectors’ concerns in a small, convenient package.  So here goes: Q:  We are from India. We collect authentic good quality fine art. Contemporary, Masters and National Treasures (India).  We were thinking in terms of International art, namely Picasso pertaining to the subject at hand.  Would you be wiling to part with the drawing Femme se Coiffant (Woman Arranging Her Hair)?  And if yes, what be the price below which you will not sell?  We will need to cross check provenance as a matter of routine …

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HOLIDAY GREETINGS!

Happy holidays to all!  I’m talkin’ ta you, yeah you—all you wonderful folks who have made peddling Picassos personally possible and, more importantly, who have enriched our lives and made them so much more interesting because you’re in them.  So…we’ve survived another year, and I don’t mean in business—I mean the world.  And no doubt you’re as apprehensive about the next year as we are.  So to all of you, Casey and I and the kids wish you peace and health and all the best for the new year! It occurs to me that you just might be wondering who this collective “you” might be, or that at some point you might have wondered who the other collectors are “out …

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WUT WUZ ON DA BLOCK

The biggest steal this season, in my humble, came and went at Christie’s NY earlier this month in the form of a Picasso “Surrealist” oil on canvas, the 1929 Figure.  At 33 x 41 cm (13 x 16 1/8 in.), it is not a large painting but neither is it a particularly small one. These days Picasso Surrealism is not exactly the most sought after of his many periods, and quite a number of canvases from this period have sold at what I consider well below their relative worth, but none comes close to this bargain.  Its impressive provenance, including prior ownership by the storied Picasso dealer a generation or so ago, the Perls Galleries of New York, didn’t seem …

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Eeny Meeny 

Q:  “Tete de femme” (Marie-Therese [Bloch 250]) is starting to get “under my skin”.  I am sure you understand the feeling.  What’s your opinion…own more individual works at lower prices, or wait and purchase more significant works (i.e. current case in point)?  -Gary J. A:  As you know, Gary, I think more like a collector than an art dealer, so “it’s getting under my skin” strikes me as a really apt metaphor.  It seems to me that when you reach the threshold of pulling the trigger on a given acquisition, the feeling you have is typically some combination of, “That is a great piece of art, I would love for it to grace our walls, it is within budget, and …

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Wuz NOT on da Block?

We recently round-filed our old auction catalogues.  They were displacing not just all the other books on the bookshelves, but they had even started crowding out the more animate inhabitants of our home.  So speaking strictly from memory, this season’s Imp/Mod auction catalogues nonetheless look a lot thinner than yesteryear’s.  What’s going on, you ask? The explanation seems pretty straightforward, though I cannot prove it, at least not without going to some trouble: the Chinese and the Russians must have become less active in the market, and to a significant extent.  I remember reading that in 2012, the Chinese accounted for 40% of the worldwide purchases at auction.  It ain’t happenin’ now, folks.  So the owners wishing to unload their art …

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WUZON DA BLOCK?

  STUFF ON A TABLE Let’s just start out with the premise that Picasso was the greatest still life painter of all time, just as of so many other genres.  OK, I won’t argue if you go with van Gogh instead—his are breathtaking, too, and you’re entitled to your own opinion.  Or we might agree that van Gogh was the greatest of his era, and Picasso of his.  But I know there’s some sort of consensus in the making, so no need to belabor the specifics. Nor is it easy to compare a Picasso still life from one of his periods to that of another—the styles are so radically different and so many pieces of each period are truly masterpieces …

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Cheapies

Q: I  have very much enjoyed  reading your blog and have learned a lot from you.  I can understand that you are very particular in your tastes and views about what is great Picasso work. I have even emailed you and appreciate your kindness in that you always even reply back.  I consider you one of the leading U.S. art authorities on Picasso. But I think you do not realize that you are a little intimidating, almost like a Picasso snob. I started by collecting Chagall and then began to branch out in my taste.  Your blog helped me to better understand Picasso’s work.  But sadly I’m not rich; my wealthier friends would be shocked at what I’ve spent on art. The only art they ever …

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