The dual dangers of overpaying and of buying online

Dear Kobi, the article i read today [from your manuscript] was talking about the dangers of buying online and also the danger of paying too much for a work from a gallery because of overheads etc… this is a question i have asked myself for a while……which way to jump? take a risk online and buy hopefully a real and fair priced work or have a bit more piece of mind and buy from a brick and mortar gallery and in more cases than not pay too much for the work as they have great expenses like rent, staff, and their endless champagne and canapé parties.

Dear Alessandro, I’m delighted that you like my writing! Thanks so much for the positive feedback. And I agree entirely with your assessments and concerns. The only thing I would add is while you’re first developing a relationship with an art dealer, make sure you have enough time to check out the work with an impartial expert and the ability to return it without any reason. That includes potential purchases from me. I would feel better if you’ve had any works you might buy from us authenticated independently, because it serves both of our interests if you are confident that what you get from us is genuine.

I don’t personally know X, but I have spoken to him more than once and I have occasionally reviewed his inventory online. He clearly seems to have some authentic original prints by Picasso. They are intermixed with “afters”, but he identifies the “afters” as such, unlike some other dealers. I don’t know anything else about him or his business, but I have heard nothing bad.

The Y Gallery prints are fakes. The most obvious tip-off is that they’re the wrong sizes. As you start to delve more deeply into your research, you might benefit from purchasing at least the first volume of the catalogue raisonné of Picasso’s prints by Georges Bloch. It has all the right sizes, armed with which you could quickly discern most fakes. -Kobi

Dear Kobi, so is the online picasso project basically an online bloch? or does the bloch book give further information that the online project does not. i also look forward to viewing more of picassos work online as i think you have mentioned in earlier email that if i see a work that i really like you may be able to get it for me. -Alessandro P.

Dear Alessandro, Well, the Online Picasso Project (http://csdll.cs.tamu.edu:8080/picasso/) probably includes almost every Bloch number, but it also includes roughly a third of all of Picasso’s paintings, drawings, sculptures and ceramics, so it is a bit hard to wade through when you’re looking for a particular print or a particular Bloch number. It’s worth it, though, because the images are much larger than in Bloch. It doesn’t necessarily offer more information for any given print than does Bloch, but it may. Bloch is handy because all the prints are arranged in the numerical order assigned by Bloch as well as in chronological order. It’s also handy because it gives you a nice overview of Picasso’s prints without the distraction works in other media of the Online Picasso Project (OPP). Of course, the OPP is a wonderful resource, for which I am eternally grateful and which I consult on a daily basis.

I am of course happy to search for any Picassos you might want, naturally the best prices are usually of the ones we’ve already bought and which are already shown on our site. Those I’ve hunted down with attention to the price””when searching ad hoc for a particular print, the price might not be quite as low. Many particular prints are also very hard to find, as it happens especially when you’re looking for them, since the edition sizes of most Picasso prints are tiny (50 plus a few artist’s proofs). -Kobi

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