(More) Annals of Apocryphal Art


Q: Hallo Kobi, I hope you don’t mind me mailing you right out of the blue but I’ve been doing some research and I must say I find your site the most informative, erudite and clear on the subject of Picasso and the Vollard Suite.

I am from Ireland but I live in Berlin, Germany and came across an “original hand-signed lithograph” with certificate of authenticity in a reputable antique shop in a very wealthy part of the city. I have not purchased it yet and it is priced at €955.00.

It says that it was published by Gerd Hatje in Stuttgart in 1956 and it is entitled ” Bull, horse and reclining woman”.  I appreciate it is not an original in the sense of the 1933 ones but I am struggling to find out what the meaning of the signature is on it i.e is it just out the book Hatje published and signed or is it a stand alone print from the original plate or a copy of the plate.  I attach a picture that I took of it on the wall in the shop.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated, if you would share your knowledge!  —Suzanne F.

A: Thanks for your kind words.  I’m so glad you contacted me before purchasing this piece, rather than after purchasing like so many other folks.  In my studied opinion, the piece at hand is a photoreproduction with a forged signature.  It has no significant value.  Run away from it!  By the way, if it were an original print, the price would be more than 10x the asking price.  Especially since you’re in Germany, it wouldn’t surprise me if the seller were trying to pass it off as the so-called “German edition” of the Vollard Suite.  There is no (authentic) German edition.  It may not surprise you to note that Picasso’s original prints were published in France.

By the way, you may be amused (or horrified?) to note that the actual title of the fake you showed me is Le viol sous la fenêtre (The Rape Below the Window).

Q: Ha, yes, I did realise that, and actually now that I look at the real “The Rape”, this one is so obviously fake because it is…signed in the wrong place!!  Jesus what a bunch of cowboys!

A: Here’s a photo of a real one: