Misdocumented $3,600 chandelier by Maxime OLD

On March 2014, the Paris-based auction house OSENAT sold a chandelier by Maxime Old, but failed to provide significant literature & book references on his work. 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!

 

OSENAT  got pulled over by DOCANTIC PATROL for calling in a weak witness violation: Poor Literature!

 

Last year, on March 29th, 2014, auction house OSENAT sold a Maxime Old bronze chandelier for $3,600. Estimated from $3,400 to $5,600, it slightly surpassed the lower estimation. According to our in-house investigators at DOCANTIC, this piece of art would have undoubtedly sold for much more if only OSENAT had realized a couple important facts: 1. The very chandelier was featured in an April 1947 edition of Mobilier & Décoration magazine; and, 2. (wait for it…) It was a one-of-a-kind!

A listing in a period magazine has a significant impact on an item’s value. The ability to mark the difference between a mass-produced piece of junk, and a unique piece of art crafted by one of the most important Art Deco artists of the 20th Century has huge consequences on the hammer price!

 

 

 

Copies of the April 1947 Mobilier & Décoration front cover and cited page above, testify to the chandelier’s proper attribution. Furthermore, we sent the photo of the chandelier advertised by OSENAT to Maxime Old’s rights-holder, his son Oliver Old, to ask for his expertise. He testified:

 “As far as I’m concerned, a single copy of this chandelier was made… It was owned by Maxime Old’s sister, Jeanne Lafarge (born Old) and her husband. The one in the photograph could very possibly be it.” Olivier Old

 

 

In this case, the buyer scored a terrific deal because of undervaluation! But, the seller? Nope. When offering artwork at an auction through a well-known auctioneer, sellers should expect the auction house to give them a correct amount for items sold. We consider anything of the sort a flagrant misdemeanor.

DOCANTIC patrols the market to make sure that 20th Century furniture and works of art receive proper attribution and accurate documentation, so that collectors may sell and/or purchase works at the correct price. To protect and to serve the art community, that's out job!

 

 

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 Fact Sheet on DOCANTIC PATROL

 

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!