Famous artist says a painting isn't by him, gets sued for ruining its value

[Read the post]


Is there any reason why this shouldn’t hit the rocks more or less immediately given the long history of interpreting the First Amendment as including protection for anonymous speech/publication?

I could see a narrowly tailored fraud case if, say, the suspected artist did something like disavow it when it was being appraised for tax or customs purposes and then promptly remember having created it when it comes time to sell; but absent some flavor of fraud like that, what cogent grounds could you articulate for requiring someone to disclose authorship on demand?


Am I missing something or should Peter Doig just turn up to court with his hands, offer to give his fingerprints & have the Canadian Criminal Justice System and or Prison Service compare them to their records, and offer to come back if there’s a match.


According to the plaintiff, Canada destroys juvenile criminal records. It’s not clear if this was ever really true, but the objective isn’t to be right, it’s to get a settlement on pain of the greater expense of a trial that proves otherwise.


Not even going to waste a Christ; he’s just an asshole.


Prediction: Peter Droig’s next work will be a painting of a certain corrections officer as a vampire with blood dripping off his fangs.


Can someone with more familiarity with Canadian law tell me why this judge isn’t incompetent??


Jeez. . . look at the prison ID card-- they guy doesn’t even have the same birthdate as the famous artist Peter Droig.

I understand the impetus here: the officer thought he had suddenly come into several million dollars, but if you find a big chunk of pyrite on the ground you can’t sue the appraiser who tells you it’s not gold but “fool’s gold.” That said, now with all this publicity maybe he can sell the painting for a few thousand to someone who wants it as a curiosity.


The funny part is that even if he wins, the owner of the painting won’t be getting much out of it because the article states he’s promised percentages of any sale price to several different parties.

This is in Canada. There is no First Amendment. Anonymous speech protections are more nuanced. (Standard IANAL disclaimer).

Update: Sorry. The suit is in the US.

1 Like

The judge isn’t Canadian.
This is being tried in Chicago… for reasons?

(I like to think it would never make it this far in Canada?)

@jmcgarry - this is not in Canada, its in Chicago.


The Judge is in Chicage, so nothing to do with Canadian Law.


A painting by Doig is worth millions, a painting by Doige isn’t.

And earlier Picasso was using doodles to pay for his meals.

1 Like

To Mr. Doig’s surprise, though — and the astonishment of others in the art world — a federal judge in Chicago has set the case for trial next month at United States District Court for Northern Illinois.

The artist(both possibilities) has a connection with Canada; but the lawsuit is taking place under US jurisdiction, so it’s US law to be applied.

Sorry. I just finished the Star article on it. And have updated my comment accordingly.

1 Like

If the painting was not done by Doig, and the prison guard tries to sell it as a genuine Doig, then wouldn’t that be fraud? It’s hard to imagine any law on the books that would require Doig to cooperate in this CO’s dodgy venture.

One would think the burden of proof should be on the paintings’ seller, to show that it is what he claims, and not on the purported artist… who now has a case (if he wants it) against someone who is trying g to devalue his catalog by introducing substandard work.

I think this prison guard needs a reminder that free men are not required to subscribe to his version of reality.


The judge must be bored out of his mind, or just wants to hear this case for comedic value.


He would write checks for EVERYTHING, as the signature was worth more than what ever he was buying, and people wouldn’t cash them.


It’s a really disturbing event - the painting is very clearly by Doige, not Doig, but the owner is so invested (emotionally and, at this point, financially as well) in this painting being worth millions, that he refuses to acknowledge the obvious truth. The result being that this uninvolved artist - and by precedent, all artists - have become targets to be held accountable by every art owner who is wishful, the victim of a scam or perpetrating a scam. It’s going to result in artists being compelled to say that some random art is theirs if they can’t afford to fight these sorts of cases in court - and how many artists can? Or if they can, want to spend that kind of money? Meanwhile the guy who owns the painting is screwed either way - even if he won (which he isn’t going to), it’s obvious the painting is by Doige (not Doig) and the value will never be what he wants it to be.


I don’t understand how the facts of this case…don’t make this a non-case. I seriously want to know the rationale for a judge allowing this to go to court.

This is the kind of shit that undermines any faith people might have, accidentally, in our justice system.