What’s in a name? Owner left £8m out of pocket as painting thought to be by internationally acclaimed artist Peter Doig is actually a genuine Peter Doige, say lawyers
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Friday 13 September 2013
A painting at the centre of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit has been identified as a genuine Peter Doige, according to lawyers. Sadly for its owner, Robert Fletcher, that means the work is worth about £7,999,900 less than a genuine Peter Doig, the internationally acclaimed artist the retired parole officer claims was its true creator.
The extraordinary lawsuit was brought in April by the Canadian, who claims he bought a genuine Doig when the artist was serving time at the age of 17.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Doig, 53, filed papers last week saying the £8m lawsuit had arisen following a case of mistaken identity and they had “found the person who actually painted the work at issue”.
The lawyers say they have found the real Peter Doige behind the work, who had been an inmate at the facility in the 1970s and is now dead. Not only that, they believe they have cast-iron proof that will scupper the action after tracking down the dead man’s sister, Marilyn Doige Bovard, who said in a sworn affidavit that the painting was her brother’s work.
She said: “The desert scene appears to be from around the area in Arizona to which our mother moved after she divorced our father.”
Edinburgh-born Peter Doig, who is now based in Trinidad, did spend time in Canada during his teenage years and has admitted to using LSD, but categorically denies ever spending time in a youth-correctional facility.
The original legal papers claimed that in 1975 Peter Doig, going by the name of Peter Doige, was remanded to the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre in Ontario for five months for possession of LSD. Mr Fletcher was appointed Mr Doige’s parole officer and encouraged his interest in art, which eventually saw him paint a 34in x 41in canvas while he was incarcerated.
Mr Fletcher bought the painting, signed Pete Doige, for $100 after he helped the teenager to get a job working on boats on the Great Lakes.
The legal action was lodged after Mr Fletcher tried to sell the work as an original Peter Doig through a Chicago gallery. The artist refused to claim it as his own, dramatically slashing its value. In 2007, a Doig painting was auctioned for £5.7m, which was then a record for a living European artist.
Doig’s dealer, Gordon VeneKlasen, wrote to the retired officer, saying: “Not only does Mr Doig not know the owner of this work, he has never been to the place it is supposedly painted. The painting is NOT by Peter Doig.”
Doig’s lawyer said the claims had been “entirely fabricated”, but Mr Fletcher’s lawyer, William Zieske, has refused to give up his quest. He told The Art Newspaper that he plans to study the new documents, adding: “We could still have a lot of surprises in this case.”
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Oscar voter speaks outfilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 2 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Alien 5: Sigourney Weaver will reprise Ripley role in new movie, says director Neill Blomkamp
Seinfeld is laughing all the way to the bank: TV show generates $3.1bn in repeat fees since final episode
Wolf Hall finale, review: Simply brilliant TV
All fiction follows one of six basic storylines, according to new research
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit