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Pharos

Claerhout Fraud

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Pharos    10
Pharos

It strikes me as odd, the amount of Claerhout paintings that have popped up for sale in recent times. Not only on Bid or Buy but the wider art market in general. That forgeries are being made is a fact:

What does one do to avoid a forgery? Here are a few things to consider:

 

Price.

 

Is the painting too cheap? Forgers are greedy and will seldom market a painting at or near its true value. They will offer big discounts that an honest art dealer who had to buy the artwork for resale just cannot compete with. Forgers after all don't mind selling at reduced rates because they have an unlimited supply!

Availability.

 

Are there just too many? When an artist dies the production of his works is meant to come to an end. You will then find some owners who wish to cash in on their investment at the new prices, and there will usually be an initial run on buying and selling a deceased artist's work. This flurry of activity usually quietens down, prices stabilise and pieces will from time to time appear on the market. If however, years after an artists death, a whole collection of new works appears on the market, this must be questioned.

Context.

 

Can the painting be associated with a distinct phase in the artists life, and thereby be dated accordingly? Can the seller of the painting tell you where and when he bought the painting and who owned it before that. If one follows this process of enquiry, one ought to end up back at the artist usually with an art dealer or other private owner along the way. If a seller claims to have bought a huge collection of paintings direct from the artist, and has been keeping them for years as an investment, then the chances are good that his claim can be authenticated by supplying dates, names of people he met while putting the deal together (Few artists are hermits, usually they have many people about that can verify a large deal was in fact done) and possibly even proof of payment. In Claerhout's later years, because of the forging of his works, he would often have a photograph of himself taken with the painting (Larger works mainly) to authenticate the work.

 

Signs of aging.

 

Even a painting that is just a year or two old has signs of aging. Paintings are handled, framed and re-framed and bear the scars, however small, of these processes. If a painting looks like it just came off the easel, it probably did.

 

Question the Authenticity.

 

If as a buyer you are going to spend money on someone else's product, it is your right to ask for a degree of authentication. The more money you are spending the better the efforts made to verify authenticity ought to be.

 

Greed and Common Sense.

 

 

I have already made reference to the greed of the forger, but the greatest ally in his nefarious activity is the greed of the buyer. Often people will go to great lengths to convince themselves that a painting which they are buying is genuine, just so that they can achieve a work by that artist at an absolute bargain. Use common sense to combat this tendency.

 

The advice that I have given here is purely a service to any prospective buyer, in this case specifically of Claerhout paintings. The opinions I have expressed here are in no way aimed at any particular dealer.

 

Any questions:

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paranovalty    10
paranovalty

Your allegations are going too far and we would request you delete all allegations against Myself and my family. Yes we have a lot of Claerhouts but the family was true FRIENDS og]f Father do you think my sister would have spoken at the funeral please do not hunt us you might burn your fingers and I think Fathers private life has nothing to do with the public

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RISadler    10
RISadler

I don't see how the original post is directly related to you, paranovalty. Yes, you are selling Claerhout paintings, but since you can prove that they are genuine isn't this "article" in fact in your favour?

 

Now, if you were selling fakes (-- which you are not doing --), then I can see how the "article" can be a problem.

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lilythepink    10
lilythepink

There have been previous threads about the suspicious number of appearances of Claerhout paintings on BoB and the internet. I, for one, have asked questions and not been happy with the replies I received so I didn't bid. Perhaps I lost out on something good, but perhaps not ... It is never wrong to be cautious! (And as I haven't seen Pharos mentioning any names or insulting anyone, I think his/her comments above are well worth taking to heart!)

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Pharos    10
Pharos

Thank you Lilly.

 

I too have asked Paranovalty for proof as to the authenticity of these paintings. Below is the question and the answer that I received:

 

Question

18 Jun 2010 11:51

Update Question

Hi there. If I purchase this item, will you supply a certificate of authenticity? Thank you.

 

 

 

Answer

18 Jun 2010 12:12

Got certified copy of certificate that Father gave my Mom Klara van HIrtum and I think very very few people can give that Artwork is genuine we are not dealers and never received receipts from Father as you well may know He did not do that nor gave certificates of authenticity inly few times when asked thanks for your interest

 

 

All parties concerned will be pleased to hear that I have recently heard from a leading member of the SA art community that this matter is being looked into by higher authorities.

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Pharos    10
Pharos

Dear Paranovalty, what exactly do you mean by "you might burn your fingers"?

 

As previously stated, my article about art fraud and the amount of Claerhouts that have popped up for sale, was not specifically aimed at any one dealer, but was a general guide with a few tips to the potential buyer. I see that you have received positive ratings for the sales of over 170 Claerhouts. This is a lot of paintings from an already deceased artist and I can understand that you may be offended by my warning to potential buyers, but please understand that my comments were in no way aimed at you specifically.

 

What, you may ask, is my motivation for these comments? Simply, that I consider Bid or Buy to be a wonderful service to many honest art sellers and I would hate for the site to come into disrepute. If someone sells a faulty i-pod to a buyer that is a poor show but were it to be shown that this site was being used to market fake paintings by a deceased artist, it would have HUGE ramifications. The local and international press would have a field day reporting on the matter and I'm not sure that any art sellers on BoB would be trusted after this. So, you can understand my concerns.

 

Thank you

Pharos

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RISadler    10
RISadler

By no stretch of the imagination am I an art expert - and I don't particularly like Claerhout's work - but why do all the donkeys look the same?

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lilythepink    10
lilythepink

That's a good question, RISadler. Perhaps in his dotage Claerhout just painted donkeys? LOL

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Pierre_Henri    10
Pierre_Henri

The Donkey ...

 

... but why do all the donkeys look the same?

 

Maybe he copied it from you sitting on that horse in your ID pic -- LOL !

 

BTW, About four years before his death in 2006, it was alleged that forgeries were printed and sold as originals by an art dealer (according to a Google source) ...

 

Pierre

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Pharos    10
Pharos

Hee, hee. Yup, very obvious to some just how alike these donkey's are. There are other aspects that concern me, and stand out, but for me to mention them here would only help in the education of potential forgers.

 

I recently heard of a well known art buyer on BoB who sent a few Claerhouts for framing and was dismayed to learn from the picture framer that the paintings were only touch dry. In other words, the outer skin of paint was dry but not so inside. Strange for an artist who has been dead for quite a while now...

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admin    0
admin

Maybe he painted only one and all the others are copies, hence them all looking the same *tongue in cheeck* :P

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RISadler    10
RISadler
Maybe he copied it from you sitting on that horse in your ID pic -- LOL !

 

That would be infringing on the copyright of LEGO! :eek:

 

Anyway, he obviously painted a lot of donkeys according to a formula. But why are people willing to part with so much cash for something any eight-year-old can do? Heck, even I can "forge" his works. :rolleyes:

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Pharos    10
Pharos

He painted a lot of donkeys, but no two were alike. Except that is for the ones that are now popping up for sale. Makes one think...

 

I'm also not a big fan of his work, and even as an art dealer choose not to sell his work. It does however get my goose that there are people out there that are conning unsuspecting buyers.

 

Claerhout is one of the few deceased artists whose work is decreasing in value. This situation exists because of the forgers that are flooding the market with their fakes.

 

But not to worry, a few years in prison will sort them out.

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RISadler    10
RISadler
But not to worry, a few years in prison will sort them out.

 

Where they will participate in the "skills development programme" and learn a few new tricks in forging art.

 

The big question is whether it is possible to distinguish a genuine Claerhout from a forgery?

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investart    10
investart

Well said!!!!

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ziggy2000    10
ziggy2000

I recently heard of a well known art buyer on BoB who sent a few Claerhouts for framing and was dismayed to learn from the picture framer that the paintings were only touch dry. In other words, the outer skin of paint was dry but not so inside. Strange for an artist who has been dead for quite a while now...

 

Hi Pharos, this is certainly very disturbing! - Did this art buyer take it further with the authorities i.e. was an investigation ever launched?

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Pharos    10
Pharos

Hi there

 

As far as I know an investigation is under way. Let's hope that the guilty do indeed get the opportunity to participate in the "skills development program" ;)

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RISadler    10
RISadler
... Let's hope that the guilty do indeed get the opportunity to participate in the "skills development program" ;)

 

Good Grief, NO! Then in three years they'll be selling "lost Rembrandts" on BoB. :o

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Pharos    10
Pharos

Hee, hee. Think the reason that Claerhout is so often faked is because his style is so easy to emulate and can be managed by people without any artistic talent (Some would say the lack of talent is a prerequisite for faking his work). Rembrandt might pose a bit of a problem though...

 

Think I just spotted a very poorly faked Adriaan Boshoff that sold recently!!! But don't quote me on that, we've seen just how sensitive people can be about these things;).

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lilythepink    10
lilythepink

And yet another Claerhout donkey arrives on BoB ... original? I don't think so but others might.

/www.bidorbuy.co.za/item/25292562/This_Stunning_Original_Claerhout_Donkey_on_black_paper_Stunning_42_x_32_cm.html

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kyle2    10
kyle2

Was Claerhout trying to tell us something in his paintings perhaps? or is someone clearly making an ass of everbody?:D

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lilythepink    10
lilythepink
Maybe he painted only one and all the others are copies, hence them all looking the same *tongue in cheeck* :P

 

Someone must have read this posting by Andries - note that the latest one is multi-coloured and different from the others? :eek:

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kyle2    10
kyle2

Maybe the artist was smoking his brushes or his paint was too diluted with a funny smelling substance?;)

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lilythepink    10
lilythepink

Possibly uses his brushes as a bog cleaning device? (In competition with the pencil?!)

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kyle2    10
kyle2

That could explain the weird colours, Wah hahahaaahahaa!

Lily, you're a peach:p

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