Altered Painting


Once again the fire-damaged paintings are making an appearance but this time with a new and very disturbing twist. The picture shown here has been deliberately and materially altered from the original. The fire-damaged picture at auction had severe damage to the right hand side and cutting away this damage would have removed the original Isherwood signature.

This altered picture was offerd in exchange for a genuine painting, owned by a local collector. The collector was a friend and after seeing the original article on the web site, about the fire paintings sold at Capes Dunn in early December, brought it to us for an opinion, as the picture he had just acquired seemed to have been restored.

The painting he had been offered and which he had exchanged, even receiving a written receipt for it, had in fact been cut down and restored, removing the original signature. The size now is 10 x 10 when the size at auction was larger at 10 x 14. A fake signature and date had then been added to the left hand side of the picture and also on the left hand side, another figure inserted, which did not appear in the original painting. The legs on the dog in the centre of the painting had also been thickened. The collector has informed us, that he was not told these alterations were false, during the initial transaction.

The alteration and restoration is very well executed and has possibly been done by an accomplished artist. Without the back up evidence it would be impossible to know these alterations were not genuine.

Restoring any damaged painting is acceptable and sometimes necessary, even the ‘Mona Lisa’ has been restored, but the material alteration of a painting, by adding a totally fake signature and amending the original composition and then passing these alterations off as genuine, is not.

Cut down the painting would still have been an Isherwood without a signature but with back up catalogue evidence as to its authenticity.  Admittedly, in this state, its value would have been significantly reduced but it would still be an Isherwood. Restored and framed it would possibly command a higher value than when it was damaged. Now it is just an Isherwood with a fake signature and fake figure. Anyone can do what they like to a painting they own, as long as they do not then pass it off, into the market, as genuine and without raising attention to any alterations.

Let us hope this is an isolated case of new, fake or altered paintings appearing for sale.

The increase in the number of Isherwood collectors, coupled with their memory and database records will stop thes paintings getting through to the market in the future.

We are informed, the seller in this transaction, has now fully recompensed the collector to his satisfaction. If the sale of this painting was an error, as claimed by the seller, it was a shame it was not corrected before the complaint was brought to the sellers attention by the customer, and only after he was confronted with the evidence, four days after the sale had been completed.

 Both the painting sold at auction and the altered painting are illustrated below, to show and prove the differences.