June 16 2014

Image of Polloks

Picture: New York Times

The New York Times has a great update on those fake Jackson Pollocks sold by the esteemed Knoedler gallery in New York (and painted by a Chinese man): even the signatures were wrong!

When angry collectors started suing Knoedler & Company for selling dozens of multimillion-dollar forgeries, the gallery’s former president, Ann Freedman, insisted that she and her colleagues had had no reason to think that any of the paintings were counterfeit.

“If Ann Freedman had any questions about these works, she and her husband would not have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in them,” her lawyer, Nicholas A. Gravante Jr., said of the paintings attributed to modern masters like Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock.

Now, newly released documents in a continuing civil case show that at least one of the works bought in 2000 by Ms. Freedman herself contained a prominent clue that something was awry. The artist’s signature was spelled incorrectly: Pollok instead of Pollock.

Update - a reader writes:

The purchaser of a fake is deceived, and has every right to feel aggrieved; and the claim that the dealer has no notice of the forgery seems tenuous at best, one would think that Freedman should be able to correctly spell the artist's name.  That said, the misspelling of Pollock's name was also a clue for any prospective purchaser acting prudently and in the protection of their own interest.  At the least it should prompt a question to the seller.

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