Fake Jackson Pollock paintings have again infiltrated the art food-chain. This time it’s not the upper-end of the market, as in the case of the very ‘blue-chip’ Knoedler Gallery in NY, but at the inexperienced collector level. The scam has ensnared at least three buyers according to an investigation by the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR).
The Art Newspaper has reported, “A group of never-before-seen works mysteriously surface, all from the same source, with a strange but too-good-to-be-true origin story. In this case, the cache of Pollocks supposedly came from a mentally unstable and reclusive German immigrant named James Brennerman who left them to his servants when he died. At least two of the paintings were purchased from a strip club owner in Roanoke, Virginia, who said he got them from the servants, according to IFAR.
The Pollock-Krasner Authentication Board which was disbanded in 1995, was replaced by IFAR and they have taken to task the job of authenticating new works added to the estate. The most recent issue of the IFAR Journal points out photographs of ten other fake Pollocks with others spotted online.
Last Monday Artlyst received an email from Woodshed Auctioneers in Franklin Massachusetts informing our editorial team that a new Pollock work, an oil on board was to be offered in an auction hosted via the respectable website Invaluable. The estimate was in the region of $35,000. The work would be at least $1m if it were correct. The Art Daily carried the story on Tuesday, but obviously never looked closely at the work.
The description and provenance read; “Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) (Attributed): Untitled abstract composition, Signed, lower right. Gouache and black ink on cardboard, 11 3/4 x 10 1/2 inches. Very good condition. Installed in a new frame with museum glass. This painting is possibly a transitional piece, showing a change from the artist’s early abstract surrealist works, into the abstract expressionist style which followed.”
Provenance: Ralph Riley, Beverley Hills, CA (possibly acquired from Lee Krasner, the artist’s widow). Acquired by the former owner’s father from Mr. Riley, circa 1970-80. Ralph Riley was a prominent collector and dealer of antiques and fine art, particularly modern and contemporary works. [See Pierre Berge & Associes, Paris, June 25, 2014, Lot 6, for a work sold in July 2013 from the Ralph Riley collection.
The auctioneers were also offering a Matisse drawing which was clearly traced, a poorly executed Monet and Van Gogh which they claim sold for $96,000, a Modigliani drawing and a Picasso. All were ‘attributed’, by whom I do not know, but in our opinion Poor quality Fakes.
Woodshed Auctioneers upcoming 20 September Prestige Collection: includes Warhol, Van Gogh, Chagall, Lichtenstein, Basquiat. We can’t wait!