Bringing to a close, at least for now, one of the strangest art-related lawsuits in recent years, a federal judge ruled today that Peter Doig did not create a painting its owner claimed the artist made years ago, as an incarcerated teenager in Canada, despite Doig saying that he did not make the work. The news comes from the Associated Press.
Robert Fletcher, the owner of the painting (a subtly trippy landscape signed by a Peter Doige), argued that he acquired the painting for $100 from Doig while working at the Thunder Bay Correctional Center. Doig said that he was, in fact, never imprisoned there. Working with his legal team, Doig then discovered a Peter Doige, now deceased, who was detained there when Fletcher bought the work.
Fletcher had apparently been trying to offload the painting with the aid of a Chicago dealer named Peter Bartlow, a process made a bit tricky by Doig’s insistence that he did not make the work, and that he was in school at the time Fletcher said he was imprisoned. The judge, Gary Feinerman, agreed with the artist today, ruling against Fletcher and Bartlow, who had wanted a judgment of millions of dollars because of the hit the value of their painting took as a result of the artist’s denial. “Peter Doig could not have been the author of the work,” Feinerman said.
There is no word as of yet on whether Fletcher and Bartlow will appeal.