Reversal On Renoir - Bronzes A Fake?
Date: 25 Apr 2007 | | Views: 4908
LONDON - Emmanuel Javogue, a US-based dealer who has opposed Renoir’s great-grandson Emmanuel in a long-running dispute over copyright to Renoir bronzes in the US, has now changed his position. He now claims that many pieces he believed were authentic may actually be unauthorised fakes.
Many “Renoir-Guino” bronzes sold on the market have authenticity problems, he says. “I am disappointed by how the two families are handling the heritage of their ancestors,” he told The Art Newspaper. “There is no respect for the oeuvre, it’s all about the money they can make.”
“Renoir-Guino” bronzes were made at the end of Renoir’s life when the artist used an assistant, Richard Guino, as his “hands”. With Auguste Renoir, Guino won joint copyright to these pieces, which has passed to Guino’s heirs. They have produced and sold the bronzes for many years, as well as issuing certificates of authenticity.
Mr Javogue was associated with the Guinos for some years as their US representative and sold some pieces. He now says that the Guinos have produced sculptures with the same edition numbers, claims that the family deny.
His change of opinion comes during a long-running series of lawsuits between the Guinos and Emmanuel Renoir, who is claiming the right to reproduce Renoir-Guino pieces in the US.
The Guinos accuse Mr Renoir and his partners of making unauthorised reproductions of the sculptures from original plasters to sell in the US, a charge Mr Renoir denies because he says the works are in the public domain in the US and so cannot be copyrighted.
In a sworn statement seen by The Art Newspaper, Mr Javogue says he now has “concerns” about a Venus Victrix he consigned to Christie’s and which the firm sold in New York on 5 May 2005 for $284,800; it was numbered EA I/IV, with a Valsuani founder’s mark. The problem, according to court papers filed in France, was that another sculpture with the same number was sold by Michel Guino to the Michido Gallery in Japan in 1993, for FFr1.6m ($282,000). Mr Javogue’s statement mentions a number of other pieces which he says are problematic, as well as accusing Michel Guino (one of the heirs) of producing false certificates of authenticity.
According to the Guinos’ US lawyer Richard Morris, his clients “deny having made any unauthorised pieces…the owner of the copyright cannot by definition make an unauthorised piece. Further, [they deny] ‘double numbering’ or any other impropriety.” Mr Renoir has brought a suit in France accusing Michel Guino of making unauthorised pieces. Christie’s said in a statement: “We are monitoring the matter. As with all properties sold at Christie’s, this bronze was researched prior to sale by specialists, and…we also worked with an outside authority. Both Christie’s and the authority concluded that there were no issues with the work.”