Friday, September 12, 2008

FIne Art Fraud

Whether you are an art investor, art collector, or looking to start dealing art or open an art gallery, you need to read this!

There are many books selling on the internet and ebay about the subject of art fraud and art fraud on ebay. I am offering this information that I have researched over the years for FREE, all based upon my personal experience and knowledge. There is nothing to buy or download, no eBooks here. I will show you photos of many fake and unauthorized pieces after Dali, Picasso, Chagall, Calder, and more. I will be uploading this information as it is accumulated, so bookmark and come back often as all of this information is currently unfolding. There have been many indictments throughout the years, the most recent and most important to date are the seven indictments for alleged roles in a $5 million dollar art fraud ring of selling counterfeit art prints. The most incredible person involved is Leon Amiel, Jr., also known as "Leon Glass," Leon's parents, grand parents, sister and aunt (among others) were involved and sent to prison for "The Great Dali Fraud" which there is a book out called "The Great Dali Fraud". Expect to see a new book by that author soon. Those last 7 indictments are not the end, I expect 2 dozen more by the end of this investigation. I will update this site as information comes in. I thought it was more important to release as much information asap, please be patient and visit often as the site expands and becomes more organized!

I am not a self proclaimed art expert, I am an art dealer specializing in prints; Lithographs, Etching, Serigraphs, Linocuts, and the like. I have shocking and important knowledge on the subject of counterfeited prints and unauthorized reproductions that you need to know before buying or selling. If you happen to buy one of these counterfeited prints the FEDS may knock on your door one day and take it, leaving you empty handed!

Every year, art consumers worldwide lose hundreds of millions of dollars purchasing supposedly valuable commodities that do not live up to their billing. You should be aware that counterfeit "art prints" are included in these items.

In 2006, Interpol, the world's largest international police organization, gathered at a conference in France to discuss the problem of ART FRAUD. One United Kingdom agency reported the crime had jumped 300 percent

More and more people are using the art market for their investments. Over the last years articles can be found in Time magazine, Business Weekly and The Wall Street Journal telling of the positive aspects of investing in art. On MSNBC there have been programs dedicated to investing in art. Ebay and the internet have been a popular choice for buying fine art for new investors, however there are many counterfeits and unauthorized reproductions that have even fooled me as a professional art dealer.

Some of the most repeatedly counterfeited prints and unauthorized reproductions (lithographs, serigraphs, etchings, etc.) are after famous artists such as Salvador DALI, Pablo PICASSO, Marc CHAGALL, Liechtenstein, and Joan MIRO.

Prior to that conference in France, approximately 2003 a US federal investigation started with the co-operation of other countries, namely; France, Spain, Italy, The estates of the artists are also helping in the case. The investigation was mostly prompt by eBay, eBay also co-operated fully in the investigation that lasted over five years.

Most people that shop ebay want the best possible deal they can find anywhere. People think because it is on ebay it must be the best deal out. Many people that target a piece of art for auction will snipe the bid at the last 10 seconds, they try to snatch that piece at the lowest price possible thinking that they are pulling a fast one on the seller. There is a reason you can buy (win, snipe) that hand signed Picasso for under $1000.00, the reason is that it is fake or an un-authorized reproduction.

Don't get me wrong, ebay and the internet can offer some fantastic deals on art! But is it counterfeit or stolen? If it is stolen the police can also show up at your door and take it, leaving you at a loss. Below is a montage of counterfeited pieces.

Fake, Counterfeited Prints; Dali, Picasso, Miro, Calder

Even the most provable dealers and “Self proclaimed” art fraud experts have bought and sold fakes at one time or another, and some "experts" ask ridicules prices for legitimate pieces, one “self proclaimed” Dali art fraud expert sells on ebay! They guide you away from other dealers with their background hype, perhaps they may have testified on an art fraud case at one time, then they guide you to their over priced authentic pieces. There are "art print experts" selling bogus art too! I’ll show you sources to value the art you’re interested in buying.

Collection Domaine Picasso

There have been "Collection Domaine Picasso" prints selling like crazy over the last 5 years all over the internet including eBay, these are mostly giclee's (although occasionally called lithograph) which can easily be reproduced by anyone. There are many of Picasso images with the exception of a color change or two, at the bottom right hand corner there is a signature by "who knows" that says "Collection Domaine Picasso" they are also numbered from editions of 500, which I now believe there are many editions of 500 from many publishers printing them. These are un-authorized reproductions. Some buyers on ebay think they are winning \ buying a hand signed "giclee" Picasso, far fetched idea but it happens. There are many dealers as well as galleries buying and selling these without proper knowledge. I have had these in the past, after my discovery of the Collection Domaine Picasso I have not gone near them, as a matter of fact I don't believe I will ever go near a "giclee" again. I have put together a montage of the images that have came in the Collection Domaine Picasso giclee below.

Collection Domaine Picasso Prints Giclee Picasso Estate -

Fake Salvador Dali

I can create an entire web site on this subject although I will keep it short and to the point.

IF you are going to collect, buy, invest in Salvador Dali prints you must buy the Catalogue Raisonne Prints II Lithographs Wood Engraving AND Catalogue Raisonne Prints of etchings and mixed-media prints, these two are my choice. There is one other Catalogue Raisonne, The Official Catalog of the Graphic Works of Salvador Dali by Albert Field. (email me and I can tell your where to buy these books) Many of the fakes are in the back of the The Official Catalog of the Graphic Works of Salvador Dali although there are many new fakes that you will not see in the back of the book, so it gets more complicated. Bottom line is, if it's not listed in the before mentioned catalogs, don't buy it. To see actual images of the fake Dali prints, look at the first montage I put together.

I've been told many stories by different professionals about the fake Dali prints. One story is that Dali signed blank sheets of paper and the images were printed afterwards, more images were printed after his death, a new meaning to the word "AFTER". There were also many RUN-OFF prints, when Dali authorized (for example) an edition of 250, there were 1000 ran off supposedly without the knowledge of Dali. After the last "great Dali fraud" the prints that were confiscated by the US Government were ---- AUCTIONED OFF TO A PUBLISHER! The publisher in turn sold them to dealers, the art dealers released them to the public. Someone removed a stamp on the back of most of these prints that stated they were counterfeit, making them more legit looking. This is another story that is found out to be true. Throughout recent years there have been new counterfeited Dali that appeared more authentic. Most of those people involved have been indicted and I'm sure more are to follow.

If an artist makes an image (print, lithograph, etching) of Dali's (or any other artist) and signs his name then that would be called an after, if he signs Dali's name, then that is fraud and considered counterfeit.

I'm still confused about the last seizure of fake Dali, why did the Government auction them back off to the public? looks like a big mess to fix.

Stan Lauryssens (crime writer) was Salvador Dalí’s only neighbour in the village of Cadaqués, Spain and wrote "Dalí and I" about his experiences with the surrealist painter Salvador Dali. The Times of London says Stan Lauryssens claims Salvador Dali authorized thousands of forgeries of his work in his later years to fund his increasingly lavish lifestyle.

There are stories of Salvador Dali signing blank pieces of paper, as many as 350,000, by some accounts. Up to half of all Dalis are outright fakes, Mr. Lauryssens suggests.

Mr. Lauryssens has interviewed several people who worked closely with Mr. Dali to back his contention the world's museums are packed with fake artworks that were only signed by the artist or his representatives.

"Dali got half a million dollars for signing blank sheets," the artist's U. S. lawyer, Michael Ward Stout, is quoted as saying.

"There came the time when Salvador Dali could sign one ... every two seconds."


Many professional art dealers and appraisers knowingly and unknowingly buy and sell fake "art" prints, if they say they never did, they don't know they did or they are not telling the truth at least 99% of the time. I have had art pieces (prints) that I know and bet my life on to be authentic yet had came back to me as fakes, never the less I still know for a fact they are not fake. I was once told by another art dealer that he brought in a Divine Comedy suite for authentication to a "Dali Expert", this "expert" concluded that the suite was bogus, the suite came from Christies and was eventually proven not to be bogus. On the other hand I've seen pieces authenticated as real, when they are known to be fake. You would think if anyone would know if a piece is fake or not, it would have to had been an Art Institute. Many museums are displaying fake pieces of art today. Last December the Art Institute of Chicago discovered that a Gauguin sculpture bought by the Art Institute of Chicago in 1997 (displayed for 10 years) and described by the museum as a major rediscovery and one of its most important acquisitions of the last 20 years, is a fake. The work was made recently in the north of England. Some of these "art experts' are frauds themselves who don't know what they are doing, or just not doing their jobs correctly, some are knowingly passing these fakes art pieces off. There are very few selfless art dealers and appraisers in the world. The truth will never be known.

If your print is not listed in the Catalogue Raisonne of the artist in question, I would suggest not buying it if you are buying it for an investment purpose. If it is of a decorative purpose than that is your choice. I have a real Rolex watch and a real good fake Rolex watch, I'm not wearing my real Rolex when I go to Mexico City, I'm not. When I bought my fake Rolex I knew it was fake and never had any intention to re-sell it, it eventually broke and was put in the garbage. There are reasons people knowingly have for buying fake Dali prints to hang on their walls, they can usually buy one for around $200 when an authenticated one may be $2,000.00 but who authenticated it the $2,000.00 piece? An appraiser once said to me "The question is not can I prove this is a fake, the question is can you prove it is authentic", my thought was, I'm not the appraiser. Unfortunately you should pay the fee to have your fine art print authenticated if you ever want to sell it down the road and not worry if your asked for a re-fund or the cops come knocking on your door 10 years down the road. You first step is to locate an appraiser, you can start at the International Fine Art Appraisers (IFAA)

Cruise Ship Art

Most art collectors as well as art galleries already know about the Cruise Ship Art situation. Whenever I go on a cruise I like to have a few drinks and hang around these dealers that are selling the art and just screw with them. I pretend that I know nothing about art,although a little about the artist at most, it's self entertaining. I was offered a Salvador Dali Divine Comedy image for $18,000.00 (the "reserve" price) marked down from $35,000.00 (about the cost of a 6 volume suite). I cannot say for sure if there are any fakes on the cruise ship auctions, although a very reliable source has told me there are fakes being sold.

The cruise ship auctions or sales start once they get in international waters, beyond the three mile limit of United States Court jurisdiction. The art will not be displayed until this point. The biggest problem is that people buy or win this art at prices that are 100 to 1000% marked up. I've had people contact me telling me that they bought a piece for a few thousand dollars which they could have bought from me for $100.00. Everything verbal will not be in writing, the only thing in writing (on receipt) is that there is no guarantee of authenticity, the dealers will tell you everything you want to hear.

I have a hunch that these cruise ship art auctions will cease to exist by 2010.

Mark "Chopper" Read - Art Auctioneer -

Mystery of the Linocut by Picasso

This may not be a mystery to seasoned collectors but it is worth mentioning because of all the hype on eBay.

Between 1958 and 1961 Picasso worked extensively within the printmaking art of linocuts. Some of his most important and incredible graphic works come from this period. In 1962 Gallery Louise Leiris an important gallery/dealer in Paris, who has long been closely associated with Picasso's graphic works, "recreated" the linocuts of the previous four years in one important and monumental suite. The quality and attention to detail of the original linocuts was accomplished with precision. There have been later reissues of the suite but they were not of the same quality.

These are the linocuts you will commonly see on ebay and other places at a low price, you will also see these in FINE ART GALLERIES. I have personally walked into art galleries and seen these on the wall. I have a couple framed up myself. There are 45 pieces that come in the suite, the suite sells for an average of $3,500.00. I personally own three suites for my personal collection. There are three editions; English, French (Linogravures), and German (Linolschnitte).

There is no documentation that Picasso ever hand signed any of these linocuts. I have seen these on eBay over the last 5+ years signed with Picasso's alleged signature. Those more rare linocuts sell at Christies and Sothebys for between $10,000 to $200,000. If you think your picking one up for 1 to 10% OF the value, your wrong! These 1962 Gallery Louise Leiris linocuts are still quite rare and becoming more rare. These 1962 Gallery Louise Leiris linocuts are "life time" Picasso and are categorized as a fine art asset that has appreciated over time. If I were not an art dealer I would pay up to $200 for one of these, no problem. If you do not have 10K or more for a true Picasso linocut, these are a wonderful substitution and have provenly increased in value over the years. The problem comes in when sellers sign "Picasso's'" name to it and sell for $2,000.00. Did Picasso signed any of these? I do not know and there is no proof he did, however, the recreations were complete during his lifetime and with his authority. There is nothing fake or counterfeit about the 1962 Gallery Louise Leiris linocuts unless they are signed.

A Linocut is a relief print for which linoleum is used rather than wood.

Safest Payment Methods

Never use cash! The absolute most safest and efficient payment methods for your art, I believe, is a credit card such as; American Express, Discover Card®, Visa. You can Apply for the ESPN Visa credit card online. If you use American Express you will need to pay the entire bill when your invoiced (as you may know). Visa is your better option although with Discover Card® there are cash back rewards or air mileages, etc. Using these cards WITH or without paypal or AlertPay helps greatly, it's like double insurance if you use your card through one of these services. Paypal is used through many ecommerce sites as well as eBay, AlertPay is an alternative (back-up) to paypal. Paypal tends to freeze accounts without notice for verification purposes as well as other non disclosed reasons, it is best to join both if you have not yet (I've been through the paypal freeze three times and it is not a pleasant experience).

If you use a check or cashiers check you can put a stop on it if there is enough time before they clear, time varies depending on which country you are in, if you sent your check to a country other than your own, etc. check with your bank for details. Once your check is clear it may be difficult to obtain a refund, you may need to contact an attorney if a refund will not be given, however in most cases it is not worth the costs' involved to retain an attorney. Bank wires are usually used for large or quick deals, unless you know your dealer or gallery well, I would not use this method.

Here's the flip side to receive payments for your art and not get ripped off. Yes, many art dealers and galleries are ripped off. My choices are; Bank Wire transfer, paypal or AlertPay , that is if I do not know the person or have not known them long enough, once I get to know a client any payment form will work for me.

Best way to buy fine art on eBay to minimize fraud

FREE monthly publications to the industry! (US only)

I thought of it now, so I thought I would give you a couple at a time. There are a few publications I use, some are free monthly or quarterly magazines for the art industry.

Art Business News
The name says it all, when you go to the site, check it out, if it meets your needs, click on subscriptions. Free subscriptions are available only in the U.S.

Decor Magazine
Mostly for framers, framing and art. when you go to the site, check it out, if it meets your needs, click on subscriptions. I believe the free subscriptions are available only in the U.S., you can double check that.

Discount Art & Craft Supplies at

Free art display tips?

To be continued..

MORE Un-authorized reproductions and photos of them.

List of publishers to buy direct from.

MORE, actual images of actual counterfeit Dali NOT listed as fakes, Chagall, Miro, and Picasso. This alone cuts out a lot of guess work.

Art terms and what they mean.

How to become an art dealer for profit!

What to do if you become a victim.

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