Doig or didn't he? (ctd.)

August 17 2016

Image of Doig or didn't he? (ctd.)

Picture: NYT

Dushko Petrovich of Artnet news has done the world a great service by reporting on the courtroom arguments in the Peter Doig trial. To recap (here and here) Peter Doig, the valuable contemporary artist, is being sued by Robert Bartlow and Peter Fletcher, who say that he falsely denied painting a picture they were attempting to sell for many millions of dollars. The painting in question (above) is signed 'Peter Doige', and there is compelling evidence that someone called Peter Doige (now dead) really did paint the picture. (The whole business seems to be one of mistaken identity, albeit blended with a degree of viciousness).

Here are the main points from the last day of testimony:

Bartlow and Fletcher's lawyer highlighted the fact that there is no evidence to prove Peter Doig was not in Thunder Bay in Canada in 1976, where the painting was made and sold to Fletcher in $100. There's also no evidence to show I was not in Timbuktu last Friday. 

Bartlow and Fletcher have asked the judge for an award of $7.9m if he says it is by Doig, and $100,000 if it is not. The latter claim is that even if the painting is not by Peter Doig, he 'interfered' with its sale (even though all he did was say he didn't paint it!). The $100,000 figure is on the basis that Fletcher and Bartlow's own 'appraiser' said the painting as a Doige was worth between $50,000-$100,000 - even though there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that Doige's work has ever made that sort of money. It's probably worth barely thousands of dollars, and its chief interest is as a souvenir of this idiotic court case.

And here's the most alarming part of Petrovich's report (which is well worth reading in full): Judge Feinerman wants more time to make his mind up:

Earlier in the day, Judge Feinerman had said that he might issue a verdict at the end of the day, but as the two sides finished their remarks, the Judge demurred. Despite a request from Doig’s lawyers for Feinerman to render the decision immediately, and issue the rationale later, the Judge insisted that he needed more time.

His verdict will be given orally at an as-yet-undetermined point in the coming weeks.

Feinerman’s final request was to examine the artwork further, so an arrangement was made to keep the painting in his chambers during the day, and the US District Court for Nothern Illinois’s safe at night.

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