Pablo Picasso Paintings and Drawings
Pablo Ruiz Picasso was the most prolific artist in history. He did thousands of paintings, drawings and prints. Picasso is also was the most famous artist of the 20th century.
The problem authenticating Picasso art results from both of these facts. Because he had so many styles, he is easily faked. Because he has always been popular, there is a tremendous market for anything he produced. This resulted in a field day for forgers who flooded the market (particularly eBay) with their Picasso forged drawings and paintings.
There are seven ways to authenticate a Picasso drawing or Picasso painting:
- Historical Analysis – did Picasso ever do this subject? A painting of an American Indian is obviously not authentic.
- Stylistic Analysis – although Picasso did many styles, there are several he never tried like Impressionism.
- Autograph Analysis – Picasso frequently changed the way he signed works. The first letter “P” of his last name is the clue along with the line beneath. Does the date of the type signature match the type drawing? Are they from the same period? The majority of fakes mix two different periods. There are nine variations of Picasso’s signature.
- Technical Analysis – is the media even one that Picasso used (he seldom did conte drawings)? Is the watermark of the paper from the period? Is the paper old or modern with “brighteners” in it? Does the work show oxidation from being exposed to air and sun over time or is it “fresh” and new looking? Is there dust imbedded in the surface?
- Comparison Analysis – Picasso drawings and paintings are never totally unique. There are always similar pieces in museums, reference books or auction catalogs. How does it relate to other works?
- Execution Analysis – the major characteristic of Picasso work is they are executed with tremendous bravado, verve and spontaneity. They are never slow and labored. If his line stopped suddenly for no reason, it is probably a fake as the forger looks back at their reference to determine where to go next.
- Provenance Analysis – is the piece recorded in any Picasso reference books? Does it have the correct gallery labels (Vollard, Kahnweier, Weill, etc.)? Are they a recognized expert on Picasso or some appraiser who knows little? Who originally owned it? Are the letters of authentication with it real? Often it is easier to fake the authentication papers than the work itself. Today 46% of fake Picasso’s we examine have fake letters of authentication.
Even after you determine a Picasso work is authentic, where do you sell it? Blue Period sells best in New York, Cubist Period in Europe. Americans want color in their Picasso drawings, Europeans prefer the more sophisticated black and white. It is an art in itself identifying where to sell a Picasso.
Still think you may have a Picasso? Let us authenticate it for you. We’re experts on both Picasso research and Picasso marketing.
Just send to us a photo of your Picasso for a “no obligation” examination. We’ll write you back and tell you if your Picasso warrants research along with our fee (minimum $895.00).
What are the Risks and Rewards?
The world auction record for an oil painting is over $100 million. It was for a Picasso. Many Picassos regularly sell for over $25 million.
A poor copy of a Picasso still sells for $5,000-$10,000. Collectors who can’t afford an original eagerly search for these. A painting in Picasso’s style still sells for many times our reasonable research and appraisal fee. If your Picasso is not worth at least 3 times our fee, we won’t risk your money. That’s a promise!