Pietro Psaier Update cont.

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The description of "A Very Saxy Table" on the previous page also mentions a Psaier catalogue raisonné being prepared in Rome. Why Rome? Most of Psaier's art seems to be in London and the "Pietro Psaier Foundation" is based in Spain. It would be normal for the writers of a catalogue raisonné to contact the owners of paintings they want to include in their catalogue. Have any of the owners of Psaier's paintings been contacted by anyone from Rome? Has Coloured Rain or any of the galleries who sold Psaier paintings been contacted by anyone working on a catalogue raisonné? The catalogue would include the "joint works" of Psaier and Warhol. Has the Warhol Foundation been contacted regarding their inclusion?

The first mention of a catalogue raisonné was by John Nicholson and Jacqueline Chapman. An article ("The Pietro Psaier dispute steps up a gear as more details emerge") in the 18 August 2008 issue of the Antiques Trade Gazette noted that "Together with Jacqueline Chapman, who has spent some considerable time researching the life and work of Psaier, he [John Nicholson] is now determined to prove his point to the satisfaction of the art world and publish the catalogue raisonné." That was over two years ago. No catalogue raisonné has been forthcoming - just as the Psaier film was never made.

What is particularly disturbing is the way that Jacqueline Chapman has given the impression that the Warhol Foundation supports her by paraphrasing an alleged email from K.C. Maurer, the Chief Financial Officer of the Foundation on her website pietropsaier.com. A different dealer has actually claimed that the "Warhol Estate" authenticated two paintings by Psaier as legitimate Psaiers. The works and their descriptions are below:

See here

Note in the description it says the items were submitted to the "Warhol Estate" and the works were stamped "declined." I assume they mean the Authentication Board and stamped "denied." What is disturbing is the notation "They say it is a Pieto [sic] Psaier." In other words the seller is claiming that Warhol's Estate (presumably meaning the Foundation) has declared the piece to be a Pietro Psaier. This is ridiculous. The Warhol Foundation would no sooner authenticate something as a Psaier than, say, the Picasso Foundation would authenticate a painting by Lichtenstein as legit.

In regard to alleged collaborations of Warhol and Psaier, I have managed to find a number of "joint works" on the net, including the following:

Top: A Psaier/Warhol offered by Cheffins auction house in 2004 - described as "Little Habana, Miami, Florida, 1977, signed lower left 'Pietro Psaier, Miami '79' and lower right 'Andy Warhol'..." (See here )

Bottom: A Psaier/Warhol collaboration sold by Denhams auction house - described as "A silk screen print...[that] bears signatures Andy Warhol and Pietro Psaier." (See here)

And it appears that Warhol was not the only artist that supposedly collaborated with Pietro Psaier. Here is a painting which, according to Weschler's auction house in Washington, D.C. was a collaboration by Pietro Psaier, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. Note how it is described as "collab. w/K. Haring & P. Psiar [sic]")

(See here)

And here is an alleged collaboration by Pietro Psaier, Andy Warhol and Mel Ramos that was offered for sale by Cheffins in 2004:

The item is described as "Mel Ramos (American, b.1935) and Pietro Psaier (Italian, b.1939) Chiquita, a Naked Girl in a Banana, initialed 'MR' and 'PP', acrylic and silk screen on canvas, 65 x 50cm." (See here )

And here is an alleged collaboration between Pietro Psaier and Warhol's printer "Rupert J. Smith" sold by Sotheby's in 2000 as "FIFA approved."

(See Sothebys here)

Did Sotheby's check to see if the work was, indeed, "FIFA approved" prior to listing it as such during their sale? Was the above painting the basis for the claim made by John Nicholson and Jacqueline Chapman that Psaier worked with Rupert Smith? If so, how could reputable dealers be so easily deceived? Sotheby's should have a record of who sold the item which is who, presumably, claimed it was "FIFA approved."

Another claim made about Psaier was that he was the last person to sketch Francis Bacon alive. This claim was made in a press release by John Nicholson which was removed from the net after the revelations about Psaier began to emerge. The original URL of the press release was here. After my first exposé on Psaier, Nicholson took it off the net, replacing it with a link to Jacqueline Chapman's Pietropsaierartist.com site. If the claims on the press release were true (as Nicholson and Chapman strongly asserted at the time), why remove it? Fortunately, an archived copy can be found at here.

The press release states: "Psaier was in the right place at the right time, and became the last artist to draw and sketch the great Francis Bacon, prior to Bacon's death in Madrid in 1992." I emailed the Francis Bacon Estate on August 17, 2008, asking them if there was any truth to Nicholson's claim and their reply on August 18, 2008 was "as for Pietro Psaier’s claim to be the last one to sketch Francis Bacon before his death, we have no knowledge of this [and] can therefore not confirm this claim." (See here)

Yet, in March 2010, Whyte's offered the following work with a description that repeated the claim:

(See Whytes here)

The above are only a small sample of the Psaiers on the market. Although Psaier's paintings continue to be sold in the U.K. through gallery websites, Ebay and other online auctions, possibly the largest sales of his work took place at John Nicholson's auction house in September 2008. Nicholson removed the catalogue for that auction after it took place, but a copy of it can be found here.

Dealers who continued to offer a considerable amount of Psaiers for sale after Nicholson stopped advertising his sales included Criterion Auctions of London. On 19 August 2009, a collector posted a comment on the net saying "I was in the Criterion auction house on Sunday and they had loads of his [Psaier's] stuff on the walls..."

The real losers in all of this are the individuals who purchased works by Psaier thinking that they were purchasing something that would increase in value as a result of the alleged Warhol connection - individuals who trusted the auction houses and bought the paintings despite the fact that "Pietro Psaier" was unknown during Warhol's lifetime and that the hundreds of Psaier paintings that managed to survive the tsunami (when he, it is alleged, did not) did not come to market until well after Warhol's death.

Gary Comenas

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For more information on "Pietro Psaier" see Pietro Psaier; Pietro Psaier: Claims and Contradictions; A painting by Pietro Psaier has been sold in Las Vegas with a Certificate of Authenticity by Factory Additions of New York City; and Meet the Fairchilds: Founders of Factory Additions.