On June 18th 2009 PIASA, a Paris based auction house, sold a silver-plated Puiforcat tea set dated 1928 for $1,700 (including the buyers premium). PIASA failed to provide the correct creation date. …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 time violation: Wrong Date!
On June 18th 2009 PIASA auction house sold a silver-plated Puiforcat tea set, dated 1928, for $1,700. Believe it or not, the set was sold without any references to corroborate the date! Always suspicious of items without a paper trail, DOCANTIC PATROL investigators started hunting for clues. What they found was truly… disturbing!
Our dedicated and nitpicky investigators called in an expert for whom Puiforcat is his preferred jurisdiction. As a reputable and professional key witness in this case, he was able to confirm that Puiforcat has only sold this silver-plated version of the set, starting in the 80’s. Furthermore, DOCANTIC PATROL‘s team managed to find an original 1928 sterling silver set in the “Art Deco Complete: The Definitive Guide to the Decorative Arts of the 1920s and 1930s” by world known specialist, Alastair Duncan, to confirm that Puiforcat truly is the artist, and that 1928 versions of this set are in sterling silver.
Somehow, PIASA was able to come up with a tea set that was dated 58 years prior to the day it was actually created… Invoking their right to remain silent would have been a better move!
As DOCANTIC PATROL‘s team looked deeper, it discovered that SOTHEBY’S also sold a silver-plated Puiforcat tea set, which was part of Félix Marcilhac’s famous antique collection, for $9,100. SOTHEBY’S only included this vague description “designed in 1928, re-edited from 1986,” regarding the set’s date. Yet all of SOTHEBY’S other listings of the Félix Marcilhac’s Collection had a precise date, or an admission of uncertainty with an approximated date.
DOCANTIC, always believing ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ contacted SOTHEBY’S for clarification. After much delay, they finally received this written answer by email:
“T he Marcilhac’s collection [tea set] is in fact a recent model, but reached a high estimate since it was part of the [famous] collection”.
Without a precise date, the buyer’s assumption could easily be that the tea set was from 1928 as it is part of a famous antique collection. Guilty as charged!
The investigation didn’t end there; DOCANTIC PATROL‘s gumshoes uncovered on May 23rd, 2013, that CHRISTIE’S auction house sold the same tea set without a precise date for $8,800, but with the information that it was silver-plated. While on June 17th, 2015, the British auction house, BONHAM’S, committed a similar error when they listed the same silver-plated Puiforcat tea set with “designed 1928” as the only era information. The mislead buyers deserve the truth, DOCANTIC to the rescue!
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 Serve the Art Community, that's our job!
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!