Hoping to strike gold by stumbling across a masterpiece in the attic or at next Sunday's car boot fair? You wouldn't be alone.
It's a natural consequence of the stratospheric prices attached to works of art that buyers, collectors and viewers might as well be looking at a framed wad of cash instead of a painting. Found a lost Manet? Cash in and retire tomorrow. Found a lost painting by your uncle Manny? Well, that's nice. Maybe you'll find a frame for it if it's not too expensive.
|Doig, Doige and millions of dollars at stake.|
Disputes over the authenticity of artworks aren't new, but they've been usually confined to posthumous sales or discoveries. This year, I was explaining one such case of a painting attributed to Lucian Freud to Lord Balders.
Stranger still, though, was the recently concluded case regarding a painting made by Pete Doige in Canada in 1976. Robert Fletcher bought the painting for $100, and later was told that the painting was by a famous artist. Peter Bartlow, an art dealer, agreed to help Mr. Fletcher sell the painting... however, their plan was scuppered when the famous artist in question, Peter Doig, denied that the painting was his.