Martin Lang bought a Chagall watercolor for 100,000 GBP in 1992 when he submitted it to the Chagall committee in Paris, they declared it a fake and are now threatening to destroy the work.
Pierre Valentin, a lawyer specializing in advising art collectors, said most committees judging artworks for authenticity ask the owner to sign a contract saying their possessions could be destroyed if declared a forgery.
“Some contracts are more explicit. I haven’t seen this contract, but the paragraph was read to me and it’s not at all explicit,” said Valentin, a London-based lawyer at the firm Constantine Cannon. “That’s really naughty. It should be absolutely clear.”
Similar cases in the past suggest that Lang stands a slim chance of getting his painting back.
Two owners of artwork thought to be by Joan Miro who submitted them to the Miro Committee in Paris sued when their artwork was destroyed but both lost their cases, Valentin said.