The role of scholars in determining what is an authentic work of art was a big theme this weekend. Georgina Adam shares the story of one scholar who has a back-and-forth with the French courts over refusing to include a painting in a catalogue raisonnée. France’s highest court finally ruled in her favor dismissing the fine and reaffirming her droit moral:
At issue was a painting by the Cubist painter Jean Metzinger, “Maison Blanche”, which the recognised expert and holder of the droit moral, Bozena Nikiel, had refused to include in her catalogue raisonnée, saying it was a blatant fake. The painting’s owner then brought a lawsuit, demanding €140,000, claiming he couldn’t sell without her inclusion.
The painting was appraised by a court-appointed specialist; he admitted he was not an expert in Metzinger’s work but concluded it was mediocre but genuine. As a result, a lower court found against Nikiel, who was ordered to include the work in her catalogue and pay a fine if she did not do so; on appeal, she was ordered to pay an additional €30,000 to the owner.
The Art Market: French court victory for art specialists (Financial Times)