Saturday, March 2, 2024

Should an Artist Have to Prove a Work is Not Theirs?


The owner of a painting attributed to Peter Doig is suing Doig for claiming he did not create the work. The owner claims he knew Doig over 40 years ago, forcing Doig to recount his whereabouts at that time. Doig says he does not recognize the work and that it is certainly not his, while a Sotheby’s specialist said it was “rare to see such a complete and highly resolved early painting by Doig.” Similar works by Doig have sold for more than $25 million, making the attribution of this particular work incredibly important to the market price.

While issues of attribution, fraud, and forgery are nothing new to the art world, the shocking fact about this situation is that a federal judge has arranged the trial for next month in the United States District Court for Northern Illinois. Essentially, this means Doig has to prove in court that the work is not his. A decision against Doig could have shocking consequences for artists.


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