Fake Oils by Munnings, Turner etc - buyer beware
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30 November 2006
So you've seen a painting listed and the description just mentions ever so casually that 'a friend said it looked like Munnings/Turner (or whoever) and, by coincidence, the first few initials of the grubby signature are, indeed, correct. The picture looks old, it is in an old frame with stickers on the back and you want it because you think you've discovered a valuable original by a coveted artist. The seller says he has done his research and that he believes the picture to be genuine. So you bid, you 'win' the picture - and you've most likely been ripped off. It might be old, it might be signed with an apparently genuine signature - but that doesn't make it genuine, valuable or even a picture that you'd like enough to live with. Before you bid: email seller, ask for definite provenance (proof) that the painting is genuine or what evidence they have to believe that it is. Where has it come from? Why are they selling it on eBay and not through Christies or other fine art auctioneers where it would be authenticated, cataloged and recorded? Look carefully at other paintings known to be by the artist - are there strong likenesses in style and composition? Munnings is so distinctive in style that I am staggered by the obvious fakes which have been offered lately. Look at the way the heads and legs are painted, compare over and over until you are reasonably certain. Check carefully all claims - Munnings had no children, yet a recent listing of two girls (very poorly painted) has been attributed to him, with the seller saying he had 'done research and it turns out Munnings had 2 daughters... ' check, check and check the facts again. Admired and successful artists always have been copied by others, and always will be - it is not a crime to copy a painting UNLESS it is with the intention to deceive. Sketches do turn up all the time and represent a chance for the people like myself who could never hope to own a Munnings oil, if that's you too then don't waste your money on a fake because it will bring you no joy. Get the picture?
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