The United States, and, to a lesser extent, many other countries, are awash with hundreds of thousands of art prints attributed to Salvador Dali (Spanish 1904-1989). In my thirty-eight years of studying, examining and authenticating them, I have personally seen over 57,000 and it is my belief that over 60% are fakes with forged signatures. The stories of their genesis and distribution by crooked art dealers and publishers and other con man are so amazing that they are the subject of my upcoming book Absence of Ethics: The Unbelievable Salvador Dali Art Market. I have frequently said that the real characters that populate these stories are more fantastic than the characters I could make up if I was a fiction writer.
The problem that overwhelms almost everyone in the art market and the museum world is how to tell the difference between the approximately 1,700 genuine editions of prints created, authorized and signed by the artist and the greater number which are bogus. Even now, more than three decades after the sale of fake Dali prints became the greatest art fraud of all times, illegitimate prints are sold every day as original prints signed by Dali’ and real ones are passed over or sold at low prices because, “Everyone knows most of those Dali prints are fakes.”
In Artful Dodgers: Fraud and Foolishness in the Art Market I describe my job as an international art detective, tell some of the Dali stories and describe how events and the times made possible the scams and cons that have occurred throughout the market.
In coming blogs I’ll answer such questions as how I authenticate real Dali prints and prove that others are fakes; how a collector can sell or donate a genuine print; what a collector can do if he finds he has an unauthorized wanna-be graphic with a forged signature and what the future of the market and values look like.
Watch for these postings and find out what in the Salvador Dali print market is fact and what is fiction. After all, people repeat the same myths to me every day and I’ll give you the real story that you can amaze people with at cocktail parties. You will have the inside scoop on whether the unique artist and showman signed thousands of blank sheets of paper to be used for prints, whether he created under the influence of drugs and what the clues are that tell me whether a particular print is worth $12,000, $1,200 or 12 cents.
Of course, you can also read some of this and a great deal more in Artful Dodgers: Fraud and Foolishness in the Art Market. Get your signed, dedicated copy at www.artfuldodgers.us.