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Art Theft

Recently brought to our attention, was a sale of art on an auction platform called Live Auctioneers. 

As a brief, this is one of the online auction platforms that has a cross section of merchandise for sale, and in general terms, seems to provide a good service for reputable auction houses. The problem here is, that not every auction house is honest and of course, anyone can set themselves up as an auction house and enter their goods onto the site in the form of a timed auction sale. That’s where things get murky. 

Woodshed Art Auctions is one of those auctioneers with a sale that ended on January 3rd at 5.30 EST. The problem was, that the sale was full of fakes. Not just some of it, most of it. 

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The following fake PollockBierstadtWarholHeadePicasso and Giacometti are paired with real examples to show what is really missing.

 Fugazi 2 Fake Alberto Giacometti - To see this on LIve Auctioneers, click here

12real giacomettiReal Alberto Giacometti - look at the faces and learn more about the artist, here

Fugazi 3 Fake Martin Johnson Heade - To see this on Live Auctioneers, click here

08real HeadeReal Martin Johnson Heade - learn more about the artist, here

Fugazi 4Fake Andy Warhol - To see this on LIve Auctioneers, click here

05bad warholsignatureBad Warhol SIgnature

06realwarhol sigReal Warhol Signature - learn more about the artist, here

Fugazi 5 Fake Jackson Pollock - To see this on LIve Auctioneers, click here

01zfugazy pollock detail(Detail) Pollock painted on rug paper, not spurious fresh white linen. Anything cloth ages, this shows none of it. Turpentines go brown, not white

02p real sothebysnov 2015Real Jackson Pollock sold at Sotheby's - learn more about the artist, here

Fugazi 10Fake Picasso drawing, see the item on Live Auctioneers here

09fake picasso 1947Fake PIcasso

10picasso 1947Real Pablo Picasso - learn more about the artist, here

We called the owner of Woodshed Art Auctions, a Mr. Bruce Wood, and pointed out to him that none of the merchandise in the sale was anywhere near being authentic and by the hand of the artists the works were attributed to. Mr. Wood retorted with the suggestion that everything in the sale was attributed based on comparison to original works by artists and some technical analysis which he had apparently carried out, in some cases. The age testing of paper is something he claimed to have done. 

He also mentioned that other auction houses will, in general terms, not touch anything by these artists without provenance (a history) and they -  Woodshed Art Auctions  - are one of the few that do. 

Fugazi 6Fake Albert Bierstadt - See the item on Live Auctioneers, here

04bierstadt island in the lakeHDReal Albert Bierstadt - 'Island in the lake' - learn more about the artist, here

When you put into the market-place Bierstadt, Picasso, Renoir, Basquiat, Warhol etc. etc. etc. with stated attributions, one is leading a potential purchaser to believe that the seller knows the works are authentic. None of the attributions were given by known experts or foundations in the specific fields relative to those works.

In so far as potential value is concerned, and for arguments sake, an approximate combined value of just the pieces in this publication, if they were original, is somewhere in the region of $25-35m: there were 217 lots in the sale that ended January 3.

The so called Albert Bierstadt in particular, was a self trained hand that reflected none of the artists long schooling in Dusseldorf. A bad Alpine scene, does not a Bierstadt make.

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An e-mail was sent to the founder of Live Auctioneers giving advance warning of the garbage for sale on the site. We still await a response.

The article published in 2017 about a sale staged by Woodshed Art Auctions can be found, here.

In addition, the correspondence between myself and Mr. Wood of Woodshed Art Auctions can also be seen below.

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"Mr Lee,

Thanks for sending the PDF. Our attorney approached Artlyst, the publisher of that article, and it was subsequently removed from the internet. It is slanderous, and apparently written by a fictitious author.

You appear to be on a mission to cast doubt on our professionalism. We receive most of the pieces we sell from consignors who believe they are authentic, but have no documented provenance.

We research the pieces and decide if attribution is warranted. In the case of the Bierstadt, we have an authentication report from Gayle B. Tate, of G.B. Tate & Sons Fine Art. As for the others being "all wrong", you are simply mistaken.


Bruce Wood Auctioneer

Woodshed Art Auctions

1243 Pond Street Franklin,

MA 02038 508-533-6277"

Read the P On Thu, Jan 3, 2019 at 1:44 PM Elliot Lee wrote:

Dear Mr. Wood

I thought you might like to read this article, written in 2017 r.e. an alleged ‘Pollock’ which you offered for sale, among other ‘attributed' works.

It clearly questions your use of the word attribution, which as discussed earlier today, is being used across many of the works in your current sale on Live Auctioneers, which ends this evening.

The Pollock, Bierstadt, Warhol, Heade, Picasso and Giacometti, to name but a few, are all wrong.

With kind regards,

Elliot Lee

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About the Author

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee founded his antique business in 1994. Having bought his first Antique piece at the tender age of eleven, it has since then been his passion for Antiques, Fine Art, and aesthetically beautif...