(to October 2010)
Left: Nadia Fairchild/Right: John Fairchild
Last month I reported on the suspicious documents that accompany works of art by "Pietro Psaier" being sold mostly at auction houses in the UK or through online sites like Ebay amidst claims that Psaier and Andy Warhol collaborated on "joint works" of art.
A certificate of authenticity from "Factory Additions Inc."
attached to the back of a painting by "Pietro Psaier"
Many of the "Psaier" paintings are stamped with "Factory Additions" or accompanied by certificates of authenticity as a "Factory Additions" print or painting. Factory Additions was the name of a company that Warhol started in 1966 to produce his prints. That company, however, ceased operating after 1974. In March 2001, a man named John Fairchild started a different company called "Factory Additions" in California, with "Peter Psaier" as its registered agent and Nadia Fairchild (John Fairchild's daughter) as the company secretary. Both John Fairchild and Nadia Fairchild have previously been convicted of art fraud in the U.K. In 1990 Fairchild escaped from an open prison, leaving Nadia in the dock to answer to the charges. Here is how it was reported in The Times (London) on 12 May 1990:
"A devoted daughter was manipulated and then deserted by her father after he had masterminded a £1 million pound art market fraud involving fake paintings, including ones by Noel Coward and Mervyn Peake, and forged antique coins, a court was told yesterday.
Nadia Fairchild, aged 22, wept in the dock as the court heard how her father, Mr. John Fairchild, had absconded from Ford open prison the day before he was to face charges and was now living in California...
The judge described Fairchild's scheme, aimed at selling the fake works through such auction houses as Christie's and Sotheby's as a 'sophisticated criminal enterprise.' He let the young woman walk free from the court, however, handing down a two year suspended sentence after she had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obtain property namely, money and cheques from auction houses by deception between October, 1987, and November, 1988...
Mr. David Burgess, for the defence, said...'Nadia suffered from her naivety and parental affection. Her father used her in a most unscrupulous fraud. She is not sophisticated and not terribly intelligent in some senses. She saw what was happening but did not appreciate her father's web of fraud, which extended into Europe and the United States.'
Mr. Lovell-Pank said that the father masterminded the scheme from his home in Hampstead, north-west London. It was run like a factory with a painter, who has never been caught, producing high-quality fakes...
The father used his expertise to research certain artists and works of art. He was then able to give his fake works a history using bogus documentation, the court was told. Fairchild employed a tool-maker and metal stamper, who worked from Finchley, north London, to produce coins, medals and fake antique spoons.
He used his daughter and others to take the fakes to the auction houses under false names, and employed an Italian artist called Vittorio Sodo to make 20 sets of etchings which he later tried to pass off as coming from the contemporary artist Carlo Demand... but the plot started to come undone when the Fairchilds tried to sell an 'original' by Noel Coward, World War II: Night View of Chelsea. An auction house became suspicious of the documentation supporting the picture and called the police.
'By October 1988, it was apparent that large numbers of suspect items had been and were being entered for sale with auctioneers and dealers nationwide but predominantly in London,' Mr. Lovell-Pank said. 'Paintings were presented to auction house and, if rejected, re-presented as genuine elsewhere.'
Police mounted a surveillance operation and began monitoring the Fairchilds... Both Fairchild and his daughter were arrested. The father was then imprisoned for eight months in November 1988 for obtaining a £150,000 mortgage by deception. Mr. Lovell-Pank said the day before Fairchild's date of release he fled the country using a false passport.
'He knew the police were close on his heels and were going to arrest him for the art fraud at the prison gates,' Mr. Lovell-Pank said, adding that Fairchild had been traced to California, where it was hoped he would soon be arrested to face extradition proceedings."
The auction house which appears to have sold the most paintings by the (supposedly Italian) "Factory Additions" artist "Pietro Psaier" is Nicholson's Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers in Haslemere, Surrey. In an interview for the Daily Mail in 2008, John Nicholson admitted to selling "2,000" Psaier paintings and has claimed in press releases that Andy Warhol and "Psaier" collaborated on "joint works" of art. Nicholson continued to sell the paintings even after Psaier's biography had been removed from Wikipedia because nobody could produce hard evidence that the painter existed, let alone worked with Warhol. (Shouldn't that have sent out a warning signal?) The Wikipedia articles for deletion debate can be found at:
The extent of the problem as it stands today is revealed by doing a Google image search for "Pietro Psaier." What started out as a trickle has become a flood - at least in the U.K.:
A Google image search reveals the extent of the problem
It is unknown how long Nicholson has been dealing with Fairchild or his representatives but we know that Nicholson has been selling works by Psaier since at least 1997/98. A collector, "Tuscan Tony," recalls buying a painting of Mao Tse Tung by Psaier from John Nicholson around that time. According to Tony, John Nicholson "said he thought the Psaier/Mao Tse Tung was genuine but he had also heard a number of Warhols and related Factory artists had had their works/styles copied for a set of paintings, for use in a film... that had been made in Spain." (Email 17 August 2008)
Psaier's biggest proponent, however, is Jacqueline Chapman - a "researcher" who does the site http://pietropsaierartist.com. The main purpose of the site seems to be to defend rather than to research Psaier. It was Chapman who the Antiques Trade Gazette (the main trade magazine for antique dealers in the U.K.) reported in their 15 September issue "has just returned from a European trip with a witnessed statement and photographs from Psaier’s therapist, Dr Carlos Langelaan." The therapist (who also happens to head the "Pietro Psaier Foundation") was produced to prove that Psaier existed. Wouldn't a birth certificate have been easier?
Chapman is also mentioned in the 18 August issue of the Gazette. In that issue, a catalogue raisonné of Psaier's work is promised by her and Nicholson. But that was about a month before a major sale of Psaier's work by Nicholson. Since the sale the attempt at a catalogue raisonné appears to have fizzled out.
The first time I came across Chapman's name was in an online comment she left after a story in the Times about Joe Simon's lawsuit against the Warhol Foundation titled "Price of Warhol paintings 'kept artificially high'" (30 July 2008). The Times has since removed the comments from their stories and disabled the feature but I saved a pdf of the page which is excerpted below:
Despite Chapman's negative comment about the Foundation in the above quote, Chapman also paraphrases a response to an email she claims to have received from K.C. Maurer of the Foundation on her website (in the "blackmail" section) in which she (Chapman) gives the impression that Maurer supports her. I strongly doubt that Ms. Maurer was in contact with Chapman. Can Ms. Chapman produce the email?
Chapman's "Have Your Say" comments (above) are a fairly transparent effort to hype the sale of Psaier's work at auction houses where "fierce competition" has seen "a sharp increase in prices" (according to her). Her comments are highly unusual for someone who calls herself an independent researcher.
Further down on the page there is a similar message by someone named Paul Sullivan:
Paul Sullivan was the executive producer of a film on Pietro Psaier that was supposedly being made in 2008. The website for the film lends credibility to Psaier's work and life. After all, how could an artist not exist if a film was being made about him? The only problem is that the film was never been made. It is just a website. Jacqueline Chapman is listed as the producer - see http://www.psifilms.com.
Chapman also previously sold antiques through her website "AndAntiques.com" The original site disappeared from the net after I previously brought attention to it, but pages of the site still exist on BT Tradespace at:
On that site Chapman says "As the value of Psaier's works increases, the world of art is expecting to see another steep increase in the price of his work when he is sadly declared officially dead in 2011." Yet, on her her other Psaier site Chapman says that Psaier's therapist has a death certificate for the artist. So which is it? Does the death certificate exist or is it being issued in 2011? Chapman can't have it both ways. If the death certificate does exist, why not put it on the net? Chapman alleges that Psaier died in the tsunami in 2004.
The registration details for the original AndAntiques.com site have disappeared from Whois.net but fortunately I saved a pdf copy which clearly shows that the site was registered to Chapman in Haslemere, Surrey - the same area that Nicholson's auction house is based in.
In another section of Chapman's AndAntiques site, she links the sale of works by Psaier to the charities, the Richard Overall Trust and the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign (capitalization in quote as per the original):
"andantiques.com with its unique intermarketcharityshop department was set up in 2007 by Jacqueline and Barbara. Taking our love of art, history, antiques and our support for those suffering from the debilitating disease of Muscular Dystrophy, we combined those interests and set up our online shop: andantiques.com. Our range of interests is reflected in the items within our shop. We are passionate about protecting and salvaging antiques which would otherwise sometimes be consigned to the local scrap heap purely due to them being out of fashion at the present time. Our art department is one of our strongest interests, and in particular the works of Pietro Psaier. Having grown up within the PoP Art culture and seeing the recognition that Psaier's work receives today we have been extremely lucky to have purchased his works alongside those of Cecil Beaton and Hugh Casson. Other departments include both modern and antique items including: Furniture, Furnishings, Glassware, Gold and Silver, China, Royal Memorabilia, Militaria, Copper and Brass and Metalware.Our aim is to provide our customers with authentic antique items at competitive prices. We are most proud of our intermarketcharityshop department. ALL PROFITS FROM THE SALE OF ITEMS WITHIN THIS DEPARTMENT GO TO TWO REGISTERED CHARITIES: The Muscular Dystrophy Research Campaign and the Richard Overall Trust..."
So Chapman, the independent "researcher," not only researches Pietro Psaier but also sells his work, along with "Furniture, Furnishings, Glassware, Gold and Silver, China, Royal Memorabilia, Militaria, Copper and Brass and Metalware" that would otherwise "be consigned to the local scrap heap."
When the Fairchilds' previous art forgery was brought to Chapman's attention her response was "Until yesterday I had no knowledge of any art fraud committed by John Fairchild. Since the publication of the article I have found an old press article relating to this. However, I have no knowledge of any existing may be [sic] art fraud. Nor has anyone else that I know of associated with my research." And that's it. Certainly a researcher, particularly a researcher who also sells paintings by the artist she is researching, would want to investigate what she refers to as a "may be art fraud" instead of simply dismissing it.
What else is known about Chapman? Nothing. She appears to be a person without a past. Although she claims to be a "researcher" there is no evidence of any previous research projects on the net. Why would a reputable dealer trust a "researcher" who had no previous experience? Yet, London auctioneer John Nicholson still refers potential buyers of Psaier paintings to Chapman from his site: http://www.johnnicholsons.com/da/56037.
Further information at:
On Monday 15 November 2010, Joe Simon's lawsuit against the Warhol Foundation, the Authentication Board and its agent (s) was officially dismissed by an order issued by the U.S. District Court in New York. Both parties have released statements as below:
Statement from Joe Simon
(aka Joe Simon-Whelan)
(Photograph by Nick Rhodes)
"It is with great regret that I have had to end my lawsuit against the Andy Warhol Foundation. I simply do not have the funds or resources available to fight an organization, which has acknowledged it is currently spending up to $450,000 per month to defend the case. I have now spent eight and a half years fastidiously gathering scholarly evidence to support my painting, and still firmly stand by all the facts regarding the red self-portraits.
I am deeply saddened that I was unable to reveal the truth in court, but when faced with threats of bankruptcy, continuing personal attacks and counterclaims, I realized I no longer stood a chance of proceeding further.
There was I believe virtually no limit to the amount of money the Foundation was willing to spend to ensure that this case would never come to trial. When my legal representation asked to withdraw from the litigation due to the enormous workload created by mountains of extraneous motions continuously filed by the Foundation's legal team, I was forced to accept the reality of my position.
In addition, lawyers for the Foundation bullied, threatened, and smeared many who supported my lawsuit, including my own lawyer, a sole practitioner, who was so was concerned about his own assets that he had to resort to hiring his own legal team to represent him in court.
I wish it had been possible to continue alone, but clearly this was absolutely not practical, so I had no other choice but to sign a document bringing the case to a close. I wish to stress, however, that I have not agreed to deny the authenticity of the Red Self Portrait, as originally demanded by the Foundation.
I firmly believe that the Warhol Foundation should not be able to continually get away with suppressing scholarly debate about important Warhol works.
The investigation I began has not been brought to a conclusion but no doubt many others who feel passionately about this injustice will continue to campaign to fight for a truthful resolution.
I have no doubt whatsoever that in time this series of Red Self Portraits will be seen by art historians as a turning point in the way Warhol thought about his art in the mid 1960s.
I would like to personally thank the many art historians, museum directors, artists, and those who actually worked alongside Warhol in the factory at the time when these works were created. These people have had the courage to speak out - sometimes at great personal and financial sacrifice - against the Authentication Board's calculated distortion of art history. The lawsuit may be over, but I shall continue to work outside of the court system to prove what many so strongly believe.
I ask those curators and scholars who supported me in private but who were unable to speak out while the case was ongoing now to come forward."
(Update at: http://warholstars.org/warhol_self_portrait_1.html)
Statement from the Andy Warhol Foundation
Joel Wachs, President of the Andy Warhol Foundation
(Detail from a photo by Patrick McMullan)
"By order of the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, dated November 15, 2010, all claims by plaintiffs Joe Simon-Whelan and Susan Shaer against the Andy Warhol Foundation, the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board and all other defendants have been dismissed. Calling it a 'complete vindication of both the Foundation and the Authentication Board,' Foundation President Joel Wachs pointed to the express provisions of the Court's Orders whereby plaintiffs admit that there is absolutely no evidence, nor have they ever been aware of any evidence, of any illegal conduct by either the Foundation or the Authentication Board in connection with the sale and authentication of Warhol artwork.
'The tragedy,' Wachs said, 'is that we had to spend nearly $7M defending what was nothing more than a blatant attempt to shake down the Foundation. While it would have been easy to give them some money to go away, it was extremely important to fight to uphold the integrity of both the Foundation and the Authentication Board and to not set a dangerous precedent for others who might also be driven by greed and vindictiveness.'
Wachs praised the Foundation's attorneys, Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP, but noted that ´the money we had to spend on legal fees diverted precious resources which would otherwise have been spent in pursuit of our mission to support the visual arts. It is money that should have gone to the many exemplary arts organizations that rely upon the Warhol Foundation, particularly in times of financial crisis.'
Indeed, since its inception the Warhol Foundation has given away more than $200M to worthy artists and arts organization in all 50 states in support of exhibitions, artist residencies, curatorial research, scholarly writing, and the defence of freedom of expression. 'It is a record of which we are extremely proud,' said Michael Straus, Chair of the Warhol Foundation's Board of Directors, ´and one that is without equal in the United States.'"
Michael Straus of the legal firm, Straus & Boies, was made Chairman of the Foundation's Board of Directors in 2009. The Foundation was represented in court by the legal firm of Boies, Schiller & Flexner. Joe Simon was represented by attorney Seth Redniss.
The case has been the subject of numerous newspaper and magazine articles - including a heated argument that broke out in the New York Review of Books during 2009 to 2010 - See:http://www.warholstars.org/andy_warhol_0710.html#xjq1h.
The website for the Warhol Foundation is at: http://www.warholfoundation.org. Copies of their Form 990 tax returns from 1995 to 2007 can be found at:
The original complaint against the Foundation and other legal actions involving them can be found at:
Joe Simon's website can be found at: http://myandywarhol.com.
(Update at: http://warholstars.org/warhol_self_portrait_1.html)
Warhol's Andys at Ronald Feldman
Photos from last night's opening (Friday, 5 November) of "Warhol's Andys" at the Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York are below. Details of the exhibition at: http://www.feldmangallery.com. All photos by HOOP.
Left: Ronald Feldman and Christian Ogier/Right: Timothy Hunt, exclusive agent for the Warhol Foundation
Left: Penelope Palmer, youngest star of a Warhol Screen Test and the daughter
of Ivy Nicholson and Ciao! Manhattan co-director John Palmer/Right: Superstar Ivy Nicholson
Left: John Gilman (writer), Ultra Violet and Robert Heide (playwright)/Right: Collette
More info. on "Warhol's Andys" at: http://www.feldmangallery.com/pages/home_frame.html.
Warhol photographer Curtis Knapp on Art World Talks
Left: Andy Warhol on 5th Avenue/Right: Andy Warhol with Fran Leibowitz
(Photos: Curtis Knapp)
An interview with photographer Curtis Knapp has been posted on the Art World Talks website. He talks about meeting and photographing Warhol at about 8 mins. 49 sec into the "podcast." A selection of Knapp's photographs (including Madonna and Roy Lichtenstein) and a (fascinating) list of his subjects can be found on his website at:
Mr. Knapp can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Warhol's Andys at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts
"Warhol's Andys" opens at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in New York on 5 November and continues until 23 December. Feldman promises "a large selection of Andy Warhol self-portraits from 1966 to 1982, including
paintings and unique prints, some never before exhibited, and photography and video made with collaborators."
The show will also include footage of Warhol’s appearances on television including clips from The Love Boat,
Saturday Night Live, Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes as well as a screenings of Gerard Malanga’s film, Portraits of the Artist as a Young Man, 1964-65, and a 1987 video of Warhol's last public appearance (as a model in fashion show) a few days before he died.
Details at: http://www.feldmangallery.com.
Fluxus Women: Now and Then
Left: Gerard Malanga and Bibbe Hansen/Right: LaMonte Young and Marianne Zazeela with Bibbe
(Photos: Sean Carrillo)
Alison Knowles, Midori Yoshimoto and Julia Robinson participated in an evening of lectures and conversation at "Fluxus Women: Now & Then" on 27 October at the Museum of Modern Art library. The Fluxus movement started around the same time as Pop and, as with Pop, the work of the Fluxus artists was often referred to as "Neo-Dada." (When the term "Pop Art" was officially recognized during a symposium at MOMA on 13 December, 1962 the term "Neo-Dada" was one of the names that were rejected for the new art movement.)
Early Fluxus artists in the U.S. included Al Hansen, the father of Warhol star Bibbe Hansen who has performed her father's pieces internationally since his death in 1995. It was through Al Hansen that Bibbe met Warhol and went on to appear in films such as Prison and Restaurant. Bibbe is pictured above at the event with Warhol star Gerard Malanga and LaMonte Young and Marianne Zazeela - founders of the original Dream Syndicate which also included Tony Conrad, John Cale and Angus MacLise.
Details of the event can be found at: http://www.bibbe.com/fluxus/fluxus_women.htm.
The event was presented in conjunction with the exhibition, "Experimental Women in Flux: Selective Reading in the Silverman Reference Library." Details on the exhibition can be found at:
New web address for Ronald Tavel site
There is a new address for the Ronald Tavel website - http://ronaldtavel.com. At the moment there is only the home page online but Tavel archivist Norman R. Glick is currently in the process of getting the rest of the pages up.
Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup Cans revised
I have revised my essay on Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup Can paintings. The revised essay - "The Origin of Andy Warhol's Soup Cans or The Synthesis of Nothingness" can be found at:
Andy Warhol drops out of the Forbes list of top earning celebrities
Andy Warhol is no longer on the list of top earning celebrities published in Forbes magazine. Last year he came in 13th, in 2006 and 2007 he was 16th in 2005 he was 4th.
This year's list can be found on the Forbes site at:
Candy Darling film wins an award
Beautiful Darling has won a Gold Hugo award at the Chicago International Film Festival.
to October 2010