Attribution error at Piasa & Wright for a $22,800 table to René PROU

On December 15th, 2016, PIASA had for sale a table improperly assigned to René Prou. Also, On October 3rd, 2004, WRIGHT had for sale a table improperly assigned to René Drouet. We fixed this!


At DOCANTIC, we investigate the proper identification of 20th Century furniture, and provide accurate documentation. Here’s an example from our case files!


PIASA got pulled over by DOCANTIC PATROL for Identity theft violation: wrong artist!


Because some auctioneers have overflowing imagination and limitless ineptitude, it seems that in less than eight sales, this table was attributed to a bunch of different designers! For PIASA it’s by René Prou (Exhibit #1), René Drouet for WRIGHT (Exhibit #2). Dominique for SOTHEBY’S (Exhibit #3). SpongeBob for the liquor store around the block. All these experts obviously failed at getting their stories straight.




Exhibits #1, 2 & 3


Among all the appraisals, SOTHEBY’S one dragged the PATROL’s attention. While PIASA estimates its table at $2,700 - $3,700, the Brits sold theirs on December 18th, 2004 for $22,800… after endorsing it with vintage documentation. Of course. The PATROL immediately double-checked this literature source in DOCANTIC’s database (Exhibit #4).


Exhibit #4


SOTHEBY’S is right! The article is crystal clear: Dominique is the legit designer of this table. But if even SOTHEBY’S found the info, how could WRIGHT and PIASA missed it? Aren’t they supposed to be 20th Century design specialists (Exhibit #5)?!


Exhibit #5


The magazine's bilingual legend was sitting here waiting for WRIGHT. The Chicago based auction house can’t hide behind the language barrier pretext to justify its pathetic attribution.

On the other hand, a third of PIASA’s specialists team is dedicated to design… aaaaaaand is still unable to properly assign a piece of furniture. It’s now about the right time to limit themselves to wine and books sales, for which an identification mistake would be unrealistic!


To cap it off, PIASA dates the table from “the 80’s”; whereas the (wrong) designer was dead in 1947 (Exhibit #6). Magic!


Exhibit #6


PIASA, aka The Illusionist, already showed great talent 10 days ago on the occasion of the December 5th, 2016 auction sale. While the PATROL informed the auctioneer before the D-day, and got the mistake's confirmation by (real) competent authorities, PIASA still "forgot" to fix the obvious error during the sale. By chance, the piece of furniture wasn’t sold and no casualty had been reported. Is the 118 rue du faubourg Saint-Honoré address haunted with expertise mistakes? For the good of the art market, please have the Ghostbusters clean up that place!


The day before the December, 15th, 2016 auction sale, the PATROL launched its Art Alert and shared the info with the design community. Sadly, things had to be handled this way for the auctioneer to finally do its job and change the attribution during the sale. Undocumented and renamed on the spot, PIASA’s ex-René Prou table had no chance to be sold... The lot passed.


Case closed




How do we classify our files? Find out here.


Book ’em! The auction house or the art dealer provided little or no corroborating evidence in the form of documentation for this item.


Time Off!  The expert made a significant mistake on this item. His attributed period came in way off. No early parole!


Missing persons alert! The auction house or the art dealer failed to uncover and identify the artist for this item.


Identity theft! They’re guilty of the worst crime of all: mislabeling the artist with another alias. And Picasso painted the Mona Lisa, right?!






The obsessive, nitpicky and no-holds-barred investigative team at DOCANTIC maintains an unparalleled database of original documentation for 20th Century, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco & Design furniture and works of art.

At DOCANTIC we believe that designers deserve proper identification for each work they have created, and that any art lover should confidently pay the right price for his or her purchase. We see the art world filled with both talented artists and con artist and, therefore, also riddled with innumerable attribution errors and outrageous pricing mistakes. By supplying authentic period photographs, DOCANTIC catches and apprehends the undervaluation (or overvaluation) of furniture and works of art. That’s our mission. We stop errors dead in their tracks. We serve and protect 20th Century furniture’s reputation.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, DOCANTIC sets the bar for the identification of 20th Century furniture, and shares with every art lover the information that has been kept under wraps by a handful of experts for far too long!