Artist Peter Doig is being sued for at least $5 million over a painting that he may or may not have painted in the mid 1970s. Details below:
The owner, a former corrections officer who said he knew Doig while working in a Canadian detention facility, said the famous painter created the work as a youthful inmate there. His suit contends that Doig is either confused or lying and that his denials blew up a plan to sell the work for millions of dollars.
To Doig’s surprise — and the astonishment of others in the art world — a federal judge in Chicago has set the case for trial next month in U.S. District Court.
The retired corrections officer, Robert Fletcher, 62, said he bought the painting for $100 from a man named Pete Doige (spelled with an e), whom he met in 1975 in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Doig and his lawyers say they have identified the real artist, a man named Peter Edward Doige. He died in 2012, but his sister said he had attended Lakehead University, served time in Thunder Bay and painted. “I believe that Mr. Fletcher is mistaken and that he actually met my brother, Peter, who I believe did this painting,” the sister, Marilyn Doige Bovard, said in a court declaration.
But even if Fletcher wins in court, the victory could prove hollow. With the artist himself and the dealer representing him saying it’s not a Doig, the art market is unlikely to assign the painting much value, art experts said.
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