His Word Is Not Enough
Authenticity in the art world is of the utmost importance. Next month the case of Fletcher v. Doig will be heard in the United States District Court for Northern Illinois. What makes this case unique is that the artist, Peter Doig, will be required to prove that he is NOT the artist of a painting Robert Fletcher has in his possession.
According to Mr. Fletcher, when he was a corrections officer in Canada back in the 1970s he paid $100 for a painting created and signed by an inmate named Peter Doige (note the "e"). A few years ago, a friend of Mr. Fletcher saw the painting and commented that the painter was the now famous Peter Doig (without an "e"). Mr. Fletcher consigned the painting to a gallery in Chicago and was in the process of selling the painting when Mr. Doig himself stated that even though there are many elements of his style in the painting, he did not paint it. This denial of authenticity negatively impacted Mr. Fletcher's ability to sell the painting and since a Peter Doig painting has sold for as much as $25 million in the past there is a lot at stake financially for the plaintiff.
Mr. Fletcher is seeking $5 million in damages and a declaration from the court that it is an authentic Peter Doig, despite the different spelling of Doige on the painting and Mr. Doig's denial of having painted it. Mr. Doig will need to address his age, his whereabouts and even a local college ID photo that looks strikingly similar to the famous artist. Read more about this interesting case.