UPDATE: In follow up to our posts regarding the Peter Doig lawsuit, last month, a federal court in Illinois declared that the disputed work signed “Peter Doige 76” is not the work of famous Scottish born artist Peter Doig. Among the many odd facts presented in this case was the glaring issue that “Doig” and “Doige” are two different names. This case demonstrates that authentication, even by the living artist himself, can prove to be a costly endeavor for all parties involved.
There may be some lessons learned from the Doig matter:
In this digital age, creating a definitive catalogue of work may be easier than ever for living artists, and artists that want to maintain control over their body of work should take advantage of innovative technologies that permit them to document their works. The fact that the Doig matter went to trial demonstrates that the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) is not the panacea for all of the legal issues facing artists. In particular, VARA provides artists rights for disavowing damaged or modified work but does not address when the art is misattributed.
In a recent interview, Doig commented on the time and money wasted on the lawsuit. It is not clear whether the plaintiff will appeal the court’s decision.