Art Fraud on eBay: Selling Fake Art Has Never Been Easier. Max Ernst Anyone?

Max Ernst – Photo from the Dutch National Archives

Art fraud on eBay is rampant.  Whether intentional or unintentional on the seller’s part, fake art remains fake art.

Lately, a seller going by the moniker gallery83fineart has an amazing collection of Max Ernst prints or photographs that are apparently signed my Ernst.  The problem is Ernst died in Paris in 1976 and is not known to have engaged in the unscrupulous mass signings of prints that somehow have managed to magically show up in 2022 on eBay for $149 bucks per copy.  That is quite a contrast to what a genuine Ernst artwork would actually sell for.  In fact, records show that the last painting by Ernst sold at Christies Auction House in London on the 23 of March 2021 brought £3,082,500.(Max Ernst (1891-1976), Cage, forêt et soleil noir, 1927.) Oil and grattage on canvas. 45 x 57½ in (114.4 x 146.3 cm).

Gallery83fineart, when asked about their signatures, recently made the following claim:

There are numerous types of signed artworks. The item you are referring to has a “complimentary” signature, as in “with the compliments of the artist”. These are essentially “autographs” for gallery owners, at exhibition openings, or book signings. The signature is not from a limited-edition. This signature does not have a history to base provenance on which makes it hard to authenticate. Online authentication services use examples of the artist’s signature to try to authenticate your item. Essentially, they do the same thing you or I would during our own due diligence, perusing examples found at well known auction houses. At my price point it would not be feasible for me to pay for a third party authentication. I stand by my satisfaction guarantee if after buying you decide to return your purchase.

Max Ernst anyone?  How about you sir?  No? Come on now…

 

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