Late artist’s window cleaner robbed boss of prized paintings

A window cleaner jumped at the chance to steal £500,000 worth of art from the home of late Scottish painter Alan Davie, a UK court has heard.

Daniel Pressland had cleaned Davie’s windows and performed odd-jobs for him since 2002. Aware of a first floor window in the artist’s Hertford home that could not be closed properly, Pressland burgled the house several times in the months following Davie’s death in 2014.   Continue reading

Christie’s defeated in court battle over artist’s royalties

In a landmark judgment, a French court held on 24 March that art sellers must pay artist’s resale rights.

The ruling from the Versailles Court of Appeal marked the culmination of an eight-year legal battle between Christie’s auction house and two French associations of antique dealers and galleries. The battle began when the Syndicat National des antiquaires (SNA) and the Comité des galeries d’art sued Christie’s for unfair competition and abuse of its position. Christie’s had insisted that buyers pay artist’s royalties for works sold during an Yves Saint Laurent-Pierre Bergé sale in 2009.  Continue reading

German research fund to uncover stolen art in private collections

The German government has announced a €3.4 million (£2.95 million) national fund to subsidise provenance research into privately-owned artworks, which may have been looted during World War II. The decision marks a departure from previous arrangements, which were used to fund research into works held by German museums and libraries. It was prompted by the 2013 discovery of the Gurlitt art trove of which five works have been identified as looted or sold under duress. A further 153 works in the hoard are suspected of being stolen.   Continue reading

Stubbs’ painting mistaken as copy quadruples in value

A painting previously thought to be a copy of a work by celebrated English artist George Stubbs has skyrocketed in value after it was reattributed to the artist himself.

‘Two Hacks, the property of Henry Ulrick Reay Esq of Burn Hall Co. Durham and their blue-liveried groom in a landscape’ (1789) depicts a groom exercising a pair of horses. It sold for US$215,000 (£177,000) at Christie’s New York in June 2016 with the attribution “After George Stubbs”. The vendor, the Huntington Library in California, had once considered the painting to be a genuine work by Stubbs. Later, in what art historian and BBC Fake or Fortune? team member, Bendor Grosvenor, has called “one of the biggest deaccessioning blunders of modern times” the library decided it was a later copy of an authorised painting held in the Ambrose Clark collection in America and offered it for sale.  Continue reading