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 can anyone explain what happened here?
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maxfrost
New Member

40 Posts

Posted - Oct 08 2017 :  19:44:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I noticed this painting on ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-ARTHUR-WARDLE-Oil-Painting-Old-Bulldog-amp-Young-Terrier-Puppy-Dog-NR-/382238472645

I recognized it before from an auction:

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/55202218_arthur-wardle-1864-1949-oil-on-canvas-of

As you can see the painting as it appeared on ebay has been "restored" and the signature has been crudely altered. I contacted the seller about this but they did not reply.

I had my doubts it was authentic to begin with (it's pretty bad) but I have no idea why someone would alter that signature. Any thoughts? Thanks

Merray
Gold Member

Canada
1321 Posts

Posted - Oct 09 2017 :  08:56:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Most likely the signature at least partially got washed off during the cleaning attempt. It would be my best guess.

www.artmarketspot.com
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Job
Junior Member

United Kingdom
71 Posts

Posted - Oct 09 2017 :  15:26:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That might sound sensible, but a signature would actually only come off that easily if it was already a recent addition.

And re the opening post, you're "surprised" to think you're seeing a tampered with signature on Ebay? The place is loaded with added/faked signatures on what were either unsigned works or by not so well listed artists! And that's not including the modern fakes en masse.
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maxfrost
New Member

40 Posts

Posted - Oct 09 2017 :  17:02:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I didn't write "surprised" in the original post but yes I am surprised because it makes no logical sense to tamper with that signature obviously. It's not the same thing as what you're talking about at all. The original signature actually looks pretty accurate. I haven't seen anything quite like this before so why not ask here? I post pretty rarely.

Edited by - maxfrost on Oct 10 2017 06:39:46
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Merray
Gold Member

Canada
1321 Posts

Posted - Oct 09 2017 :  17:15:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree with you Job: the signature likely have been a "later addition", the painting doesn't look strong enough to me to be by ARTHUR WARDLE to begin with. So the buyer/seller got screwed initially himself, made it worst with the cleaning attempt and then successfully passed it on to the next victim.
ps.
Disclaimer: it's a pure speculation by me, but given what I know here it looks to me as the most probable scenario.


Edited by - Merray on Oct 09 2017 17:16:51
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maxfrost
New Member

40 Posts

Posted - Oct 09 2017 :  18:50:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the input. I didn't think it was Wardle either as I wrote in the original post I thought it was pretty bad. The "original" signature was a way better attempt at Wardle's signature though.
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Merray
Gold Member

Canada
1321 Posts

Posted - Oct 09 2017 :  19:47:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, Maxfrost, such are facts: it's much easier to master a good signature than a good painting. :)
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Job
Junior Member

United Kingdom
71 Posts

Posted - Oct 09 2017 :  20:02:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Max. Of course there's no problem asking the question.

It always difficult only from photographs, and that's when you have a reasonable idea of what you're doing. You can't help but make mistakes. And reality on Ebay is that most art buyers have no clue what they're doing and have more money than common sense, so ridiculous mistakes are inevitable. The trouble is that even ridiculous mistakes aren't recognised on receipt and there are too many unscrupulous sellers who have learnt they can take appalling advantage of that. And the sellers in this case, that you asked a very sensible question of, demonstrated pretty clearly that they were perfectly well aware that they were selling something wrong by their not answering.

And with the same disclaimer Merray used, because this is only my supposition from photographs too, but I don't think that's Arthur Wardle either. It's nowhere near good enough to my eye, and the place to look for "rightness" isn't in the signature (which is so easily faked), it's in the quality of the work which is not so easily faked, as Merrey's already said. Just look at the dog's backside, it's practically flat! That's doesn't even look like the work of a good artist, let alone a great one, so I really, really doubt that's Arthur Wardle even though I'm no authority on Arthur Wardle.

And it would have indeed been insane to have tampered with a right signature. So it must have come off when it shouldn't have done. Why would they have done something so crass otherwise? I actually agree that the original apparent signature has the initial appearance of being old, but it didn't look quite so good on closer examination. Apart from anything else, there's some grey paint there that looks added and that "d" is on top of it. And Arthur Wardle, in my understanding, didn't use that "e" at the end either. So in my opinion, that was a fake signature to start with, and the painting just isn't good enough anyway.

Just as a little aside, I bought a little portrait on Ebay not long ago, which was being sold as by a very good artist with a signature. I didn't think it was right, but I liked the painting, and when it arrived the sellers had been so arrogant in their belief that they can get away with anything, that they hadn't even bothered to varnish over the fake signature. And that signature just wiped off with white spirit!

I notice the crass signature and the lack of quality didn't stop that picture selling though. 70 bids to over $4000!! What did I say about Ebay buyers with more money than common sense?

Edited by - Job on Oct 09 2017 20:19:53
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Merray
Gold Member

Canada
1321 Posts

Posted - Oct 09 2017 :  22:15:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yeah... unfortunately eBay doesn't seem to be caring much about activities like this as they probably make more money from those than from sales by honest/professional dealers.
It sucks big time as apparently the market is there, in terms of availability of money and people willing to spend on art, but fakes eat the better part of it. :(
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maxfrost
New Member

40 Posts

Posted - Oct 10 2017 :  06:35:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I did report this listing to ebay when the auction was occurring and they did nothing of course.

I've also noticed obvious shill bidding on there in the past and they did nothing in those cases as well. There's 2 sellers in particular I know on there that do that all the time. I contacted both about this (selling paintings and then relisting with these same winning bidders still bidding) and they came up with ridiculous stories.

I was shocked too this picture would go for over $4,000 which is what led me to post this thread as well. There have been legitimate Wardle pictures that have sold for much less on there actually

The seller did respond to me finally about this being a fake/the altered signature history:
"Hello, I have brought this to the attention of our listers."

It would've been nicer if they brought it to the attention of their buyers..

Edited by - maxfrost on Oct 10 2017 07:25:01
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