Monday, November 24, 2008

Big Bust In St. Augustine

Report by undercover St. Augustine police officer John Niederriter. Badge #2707, 11-09-2008

"On Sunday November 9, 2008, I made contact with the subject in the Plaza, on the Northwest corner,displaying artwork. I began to speak with the subject about his dog and then I started to speak to him about the artwork he had with him. He began by telling me that the artwork does not like the sunlight, as he was arranging it in the shade. I started to talk with him about a print of fish he had on an easel, and then he showed me another print with blue fish on it in a stack of prints on the ground. I fingered thorough the prints on the ground and noticed that one or two had a price tag on them but there was a line through the price. I asked if the price was the forty dollars on the tag, or of it was a different price. The subject stated that the price was the forty dollars, if he was in his gallery. I asked what the difference was and he again stated that the price was forty dollars in his gallery. I asked if I could buy one now, and he said yes, but I would not give him the money, but instead place the money in a black canvas stand he had with him. We continued to discuss art with him and asked him what the deal with the signs was. He told me about the court battle with the city. I told him I was interested in the "blue fish" but I had to find my wife first."

About a half hour later four police officers arrived by bicycle and car with flashing lights. Suvo was arrested , handcuffed and taken to the St. Johns County Jail. His artwork was taken down by the police officers. This would've been Suvo's only sale of the day. Alas, it cost him 200 dollars to bond out later that night and 20 dollars taken from him by the jailer for "administrative purposes".

Friday, November 07, 2008

Phony...... at Real Prices

One block from the Plaza de la Constitucion is a quaint old style art gallery with works from early florida artists and a smattering of European artists. There is not much on the walls that would be considered "modern art" ( an overused term ).

I was walking past the gallery window the other day and something caught my eye. Two small Picasso like works on paper were hanging together. Going into the gallery an attractive Russian accented salesperson told me that these were original Picasso lithographs. I am familiar with these works since I dealt in them almost twenty years ago. A document was affixed on the back stating that this was an original Picasso print. The document was from a California company called Art Brokers Incorporated or something like that. Price $5000.000 for each one

Now..........I gotta tell you

#1 These works were NOT original Picasso prints.

#2 The Picasso signature is printed onto the paper

#3 The certificate of authenticity was not from Picasso's publisher

#4 The works are most likely from either granddaughter Marina
Picasso's money grabbing release of offset lithos in the 70's or
another unauthorized pirated publication ( one print was printed
backward to simulate a print from a litho stone)

#5 Current Market value ....$50 to $100 (ebay notwithstanding)

$5000 dollars? That must be some frame on these things. I consider even the market price too much for a machine made reproduction. (just like a magazine copy)

Consumers beware !.........nice chandeliers and high rent does not guarantee that the art dealer is scrupulous in how he describes his goods. In this case I'm fairly certain the dealer knows full well what he is selling. If not hold yourself out as an expert and take a class through Christies or even a printmaking class at the Art Center. You are offering sidewalk slugs as escargot.