In our opinion, another fake collage, titled Ashik Kerib (see below), claimed to be by Sergei Paradjanov, surfaced in London during June 2009 Russian Art Fair. Fair’s director, Peter London, quickly replied to see if we were interested in purchasing the collage, but stopped responding after we showed him our reports on the fake collages.
Artworks clailmed to be by Sergei Paradjanov have been withdrawn from the auction hours before they were to go on sale. We welcome this decision and would like to thank Mr. William MacDougall of the MacDougall Arts Ltd Auction for withdrawing the works from today’s auction of Russian Art. Following our extensive correspondence with Mr. MacDougall, we received a letter from him early this morning stating that while they don’t necessarily accept our view of the works, they err on the side of caution and only include works in which they are very confident.
COLLAGES claimed to be by legendary filmmaker Sergei Paradjanov will again be on sale in London on June 11, 2009 at MacDougall’s Auction. In 2007, MacDougall’s Auction sold 3 (of 4) collages claimed to be by Sergei Parajanov (see our report from March 2, 2008 below). This time MacDougall’s Auction has 6 collages claimed to be by Sergei Paradjanov: “Lady Serving Tea”, “Aladdin”, “Lady with Vase with Flowers”, “Lady with a Mirror”, “Princess with Butterflies”, and “Princess of Taj Mahal”. Well, that’s a whole lot of “ladies”, BUT NO Paradjanov, ladies and gentlemen. MacDougall’s Auction lists provenance as “Private collection, France”. [See our 11 June 2009 update above]
More on the French connection is below and these are the 6 collages in London claimed to be by Paradjanov, which MacDougall’s Auction is going to sell on June 11, 2009. If you are in London go to the auction (at 30A Charles II St., London, telephone +44-20-7389-8160) and write to us about it. [Updated 11 June 2009 – collages have been withdrawn from the auction; see our June 11 2009 report above
Now the French connection. We’ve received a letter from France, whose author requested to remain annonymous, and we were informed about several fake collages that were brought from Tbilisi, Georgia, according to the dealer who was selling the fakes. At least one fake Paradjanov collage called “Composition 1” was sold at the Aguttes Auction in France for EUR 10, 201 on March 25, 2009. Aguttes often hold auctions in partnership with Cabinet d’expertise Dan Coissard. Our letters to Claude Aguttes and Dan Coissard remain unanswered. Here is the fake collages that was sold:
Two more fake Paradjanov collages have apparently not been sold – “Persian fantasy I and II”.
Here are the authentic Sergei Paradjanov collages at his museum.
Collage claimed to be by Sergei Paradjanov was sold for GBP 89,950 (USD 178,000 / EUR 133,126) in London at the MacDougall Arts Ltd Auctions around June 15th, 2007.
On February 29, 2008, Noyan Tapan News Agency reported from Moscow that artist Valery Boyakhchian, who worked for Sergei Paradjanov in 1980s in Tbilisi, informed Yerkramas Newspaper that he is in fact the author of the fake collage, which he calls “A Mysterious Supper”. Per Noyan Tapan, which cites Yerkramas Newspaper, Boyakhchian (Boyakjian, Boyakhchian) made the collage in New York (around 2001) and gave it to an art dealer in exchange for an airline ticket to Moscow. Presently, it is unclear who the dealer was and if he knew the work wasn’t by Paradjanov. In any case, very thorough research should have been made to confirm the provenance.
According to the MacDougall Arts Ltd Auction’s press release of June 15th, 2007, the collage (“Last Supper”) was sold for GBP 89,950 (USD 178,000 / EUR 133,126). The provenance is listed as “Glezer collection. Corporate collection, USA.” According to the auction’s website the collage had been previously exhibited at “C.A.S.E. Museum of Contemporary Russian Art, Jersey City, USA, 2003 and Bell Harbor, Miami, USA, 2006.”
Currently there are also 3 collages listed on the auction’s website: “Collage with Mona Lisa,” (presumably sold November 29 or 30, 2007 for GBP 7,710 (USD 15,898); “Old Friends” (presumably sold November 29 or 30, 2007 for GBP 8,353 (USD 17,223) and “Family Portrait” (presumably not sold). The provenance of the 1st collage is shown as “A. Gleizer collection. Roman Tabakman colleciton, USA” and the provenance of the other 2 collages — “Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner. Private collection, USA”, but it is not clear who that owner is. Paradjanov experts and closest friends, the family of Sergei Parajanov, and Paradjanov museum, have all confirmed these collages are fake. MacDougall’s Auction in London ignored the letter from the museum and refused to answer any questoins or produce any evidence that the collages were “acquired directly from the artist by the present owner” etc.
Back in 2003, Parajanov.com reported about a large exhibition of fake Paradjanov collages on display from December 1, 2002 till March 16, 2003 at the Rutgers University’s Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum and which came from the collection of Norton and Nancy Dodge, collectors of Soviet Nonconformist art. The Zimmerli Museum’s catalogue stated that some collages in their exhibition were jointly made “by Sergei Paradjanov and Valerii Boyakjian” and several were “attirbuted” to Paradjanov. We asked the Zimmerli Museum to confirm when and where Norton and Nancy Dodge acquired all the works, but they didn’t provide that information. The “Last Supper” piece sold in London by MacDougall Arts Ltd auction listed “related literature” for the “Last Supper” collage as “Collage and Assemblage in the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection, USA, 2001”.
We believe that there are several persons involved in making forged collages in United States and overseas, including Russia, Georgia, and Armenia, and we strongly recommend to do a very extensive reasearch before aquiring any work said to be by Sergei Paradjanov as there are few works that can become available and the number of fakes continues to increase.
P.S. Here’s The Last Supper that Sergei Paradjanov created in 1988.
[02 March 2008]/updated