The telling part of this case in Los Angeles isn’t that someone sold fake Warhols to an LA gallerist but that they chose to fake Warhol’s Shadow paintings. But the scam underscores a truism of art forgery, it more often takes place in obscure corners of markets where less might be known and buyers might be more easily fooled.
In this case, the buyer caught on as soon as the works were in his possesion. Revolver gallery paid a couple, the Walshes, $80,000 for two Shadow works:
Last fall, the Walshes listed two “Shadow” paintings on eBay for $100,000, the gallery says in the 10-page complaint. The listing said they had bought the pieces from an art dealer for $240,000 but were “forced to sell them at a loss to remodel their home.”
The listing included a copy of the Walshes’ purchase invoice, a document indicating that Christie’s Auction House had valued the pieces at $120,000 to $180,000 at auction and a statement that the works were “registered with the Warhol Foundation with numbers PA65.049 & PA65.032,” according to the complaint.
When the gallerist discovered the documentation was phony and the works were on new canvas, the Walshes started repaying some of the $80,000. They only came up with $30,000. Now the owner of Revolver gallery is suing for the remaining $50k.
L.A. Gallery Says It Was Sold Forged Warhols (Courthouse News Service)