Terms and Conditions of Online Auctions

False work offered: 'signed by Constant'

False work offered as 'signed by Constant', 2014

Constant Nieuwenhuys, Femme et enfant, 1997

The original Femme et enfant, 1997, by Constant

False work no 3 offered as 'signed by Constant', 2014

False work no 3 offered as 'signed by Constant', 2014

False work no 2 offered as 'signed by Constant', 2014

False work no 2 offered as 'signed by Constant', 2014

Constant Nieuwenhuys, Interieur New babylon

The original Interieur New Babylon by Constant

Recently we came across several murky works that were offered as art works by Constant at an online auction. We got notified and quickly discovered that one of the works was a copy of an existing watercolor, which makes the work an infringement on copyrights. The second was not even close to any of Constant's works, which makes the work either a misattribution or a forgery. And the last was also a copy of an existing drawing. It seems that this copy was made in an edition since the same drawing had been offered to one of the Dutch museums a few years back and was eventually destroyed after the foundation deemed the work a copy.

On the website of the online auctionhouse all works were marked as 'signed by Constant'. Pictoright started to undertake offical legal action, the authorities were notified and the foundation contacted the auctionhouse. Even though the auctionhouse took the works off their website they would not disclose the source of the false works. When we commented on their ethical responsibilty as an auctionhouse they referred to their Terms and Conditions in which they specifically state that there is no garanty that works marked 'signed by' are in fact originals from said artist.

Again this goes to show that caution is an absolute necessity in buying art. So-called offical parties actually include their untrustworthiness in their Term and Conditions for all to read. My guess is that rarely somebody does...

You can find more tips on what to watch out for when buying art on The Fight Against