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More Frauds: EJ's Auctions

 

Greetings:

With the value of Patrick Nagel's work increasing, everyone needs to be aware of fakes and frauds.  This week, EJ's Auctions is promoting two very questionable pieces. Even if you ignore condition, both of these pieces are suspect.  EJ's states they're both signed, and they are. Who they're signed by is another matter.  They're not signed by Patrick Nagel.  It's important to know what genuine signatures look like to avoid getting snared by fakes like these.
Check these photos out for yourself -- and be careful.




Rob Frankel
TheArtistWhoLovedWomen

Bryn
 

I saw these and gave them a wide birth. Clearly fake signatures

Sent from my iPhone

On 18 Jan 2018, at 15:07, robfrankel <rob@...> wrote:

Greetings:

With the value of Patrick Nagel's work increasing, everyone needs to be aware of fakes and frauds.  This week, EJ's Auctions is promoting two very questionable pieces. Even if you ignore condition, both of these pieces are suspect.  EJ's states they're both signed, and they are. Who they're signed by is another matter.  They're not signed by Patrick Nagel.  It's important to know what genuine signatures look like to avoid getting snared by fakes like these.
Check these photos out for yourself -- and be careful.


<H8897_L135462803.jpg><H8897_L135462823.jpg><Screen shot 2018_01_18 at 7.01.36 AM.png>

Rob Frankel
TheArtistWhoLovedWomen

Jacob GW
 

Where can we find some good examples of his real signature. I would totally have fallen for the 2nd one without the block letters.



On Jan 18, 2018, at 10:10 AM, Bryn <bryn1978@...> wrote:

I saw these and gave them a wide birth. Clearly fake signatures

Sent from my iPhone

On 18 Jan 2018, at 15:07, robfrankel <rob@...> wrote:

Greetings:

With the value of Patrick Nagel's work increasing, everyone needs to be aware of fakes and frauds.  This week, EJ's Auctions is promoting two very questionable pieces. Even if you ignore condition, both of these pieces are suspect.  EJ's states they're both signed, and they are. Who they're signed by is another matter.  They're not signed by Patrick Nagel.  It's important to know what genuine signatures look like to avoid getting snared by fakes like these.
Check these photos out for yourself -- and be careful.


<H8897_L135462803.jpg><H8897_L135462823.jpg><Screen shot 2018_01_18 at 7.01.36 AM.png>

Rob Frankel
TheArtistWhoLovedWomen

 

It's a good question, especially because Nagel's signature changed radically over the course of his life. In the early part of his career, he signed his work with block letter capitals -- if he signed it at all.  Some illustrations had no signatures at all, being that they were works for commercial clients.  In just about every case, the letters were evenly sized and evenly spaced.  To make things even more confusing, it was as if his early signatures were always an experiment:  On some pieces, the letters are spaced extremely far apart, whereas on later pieces they're bunched together more closely.  All signatures were in black ink.

As Nagel transitioned into fine art, he changed over to a breezy script, likely because he'd have to sign anywhere from 35 to 175 or more editions, which can be pretty tedious in block lettering. He usually signed his work (serigraphs in pencil; original canvases in acrylic paint) in a lower right hand corner.  The number of the edition was usually in the lower left corner.  The signature and number were never close together.  Each had its own corner.

Look closely at more pieces and you'll see the patterns.


Rob Frankel
TheArtistWhoLovedWomen

. .
 

Ebay listing.  323030177405
Its shows a listing for signed and numbered casa lupita.  But i see its signed and numbered by someone but also its a sis print.  Nagels didnt sign and number signed in screen prints

 

Yup.  It's a fake but the real clue is the number:  Nagel never looped his 2's:


Rob Frankel
TheArtistWhoLovedWomen

 

Update:

I contacted the seller for this item, who wasn't aware of the suspicious nature of the signature and number.  Turns out he'd bought it at an estate sale and took it at face value.  However, after my note to him, he followed my advice and had it checked out by a gallery, which affirmed it was indeed a fake.  As a result, he's informed all the bidders and may have even re-listed it properly.

Be careful out there. Not as many sellers would be as honest as this one was.

Rob Frankel
TheArtistWhoLovedWomen

Cooper_Monster
 

Okay, unaware of this board, I did fall for the fake signature "Standing Lady", but it went cheap (I've paid more of a SIS copy) and provides enough mystery to be entertaining. Here's the mystery - contained among other Nagel lots I bought in this auction was another "Standing Lady", but with any signature whatsoever, not in pencil nor SIS. This shouldn't exist. Again, not an expert, but the paper seems correct, colors match my SIS copies bought on other occasions over the last 20 years. Someone clearly "signed" a non-SIS print, but where did it come from?

 

A couple of observations:

First, anything that mars the piece will destroy its collectible value.  That means it's better to have an unsigned piece than one whose signature has been forged. When it comes to art, the general rule is that condition is paramount. 

Second, if you've run across a piece that was neither part of a "collection" (i.e., The Playboy Collections, Estate Collection, etc.), there's always the possibility that you've stumbled on to either an overrun or a rejected piece.  If you've read the book, you know that none other than Karl Bornstein himself was not above lifting overrun/rejected pieces and selling them out of his trunk.  There's also the possibility that the discards were picked out of the reject bin by others before they could be destroyed.  It happens. A lot. The book also delves into the counterfeit ring that was so huge it took the FBI to bring it down.

Of the two printers who produced Nagel's work, Jeff Wasserman was beyond reproach.  Sanitago Somper, however, was another story.  There is an honor code among printers to destroy all imperfect or rejected works.  Apparently, Santago wasn't in the mood for honor, as upon his death, a substantial cache of imperfect Nagel works were discovered in a storage shed. Every once in a while, one pops up on EBay, most notably out of register or flawed in some other manner.  My impression is that Wasserman printed Standing Lady, but after all the research I've done, nothing would surprise me.

My bet is that your Standing Lady was a rescue from the reject bin. But that's all it is.....a guess.

Rob Frankel
TheArtistWhoLovedWomen

Cooper_Monster
 

That makes sense. Thanks for the background.

I'd love for someone to take a look at it someday, but for now it remains a curiosity. Just wanted to report that the curiosity exists.

Manuel Rodriguez
 

Rob: 

Your impression is correct. Jeff printed the limited-large of Standing Lady. I bought a few limited's from him directly and spoke to him more than a few times. Your impression of Samper Printing is also correct. Santiago printed odd-sized images that were dubbed "printers proofs" because they were never officially sanctioned. These were essentially larger or irregular-sized images of whatever Nagel he happened to be printing that day. They're all still floating around in the ether, some of them are quite rare because they've never been "seen" by the public. Jeff was meticulous, though, in hand-pulling his serigraphs, and you can clearly see that his images are far superior to Samper's prints. Mask and the large Standing Lady are perfect examples of Jeff's work. Is he still alive? 

 

HI Manny:

Yes, Jeff Wasserman is indeed alive, one of the few survivors from the era, along with others mentioned in the book.  Out of everyone, Jeff emerges as the unsung hero, just about the only one whose ethics and integrity remained steadfast before, during and after the Nagel juggernaut.

He sold most of his Nagel pieces, but being the master printer he is, maintains a number of pieces in his Santa Monica home.  He lives quietly now, rarely speaking publicly to anyone about that time.  I am grateful and very fortunate for his help with the book.

One of the great tragedies of the 80s -- probably the greatest decade humanity will ever know -- is that many of its luminaries met with premature ends.  Such is life, I suppose.

Rob Frankel
TheArtistWhoLovedWomen

Manuel Rodriguez
 

Rob, fascinating insight. Thank you for keeping the torch alive. I agree, your book may have spurred sales higher, even though I would love it if prices stayed flat so I could find a few more pieces. 

Your inventory of canvasses is also quite impressive, because none exists. I still have a half a dozen Mirage price lists in my warehouse, I need to find those again. Keep up the great work! 

Manny

On Fri, Oct 5, 2018 at 10:25 AM robfrankel <rob@...> wrote:
HI Manny:

Yes, Jeff Wasserman is indeed alive, one of the few survivors from the era, along with others mentioned in the book.  Out of everyone, Jeff emerges as the unsung hero, just about the only one whose ethics and integrity remained steadfast before, during and after the Nagel juggernaut.

He sold most of his Nagel pieces, but being the master printer he is, maintains a number of pieces in his Santa Monica home.  He lives quietly now, rarely speaking publicly to anyone about that time.  I am grateful and very fortunate for his help with the book.

One of the great tragedies of the 80s -- probably the greatest decade humanity will ever know -- is that many of its luminaries met with premature ends.  Such is life, I suppose.

Rob Frankel
TheArtistWhoLovedWomen