Tag Archives: art lawsuit

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Selling the Crown Jewels: Norman Rockwell

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Norman Rockwell, Shuffleton’s Barbershop, 1950

Although I’m not a big fan of Norman Rockwell’s artwork, a painting of his caught my eye after becoming the centerpiece of a controversy that has rocked the art world. Rockwell, the longtime cover illustrator of the Saturday Evening Post working from the 1920s to the 1960s, was known for producing images of daily American life­—rosy-cheeked folks in church or kids playing baseball—a cornpone vision of America ensconced safely behind white picket fences. The Rockwell artwork at issue, Shuffleton’s Barbershop (1950), is part of the fine art collection of the little-known Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, which announced in July 2017, that it would auction the painting. Rockwell meticulously reproduced the myriad details of Shuffleton’s barbershop, but what fixates the eye is the back room of the shop in which an elderly group of men are playing musical instruments bathed in a rich inner light matching the glow from a wood-burning stove. The painting would fit into the oeuvre of a Dutch master, perhaps Jan Steen.
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A New Law That’s Bad for the Art Business

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An edition of how many? Salvador Dalí, Swans Reflecting Elephants, 1937

Sometimes legislation in Sacramento is rushed through with unintended consequences, an unfortunate example being a newly expanded law posing problems for art dealers. This 2016 amendment to California Civil Code Section 1739.7 was intended to broaden a law that provided sports memorabilia collectors protections from unscrupulous dealers who sold supposedly “autographed” items that often turned out to be phony. The recent amendment was intended to bring under the law’s protections buyers of collectibles from dealers in entertainment memorabilia, also subject to widespread fraud. However, the text of the amendment, in effect since January 1, 2017, was not limited to sports and entertainment memorabilia, making its draconian provisions applicable to art dealers, book dealers and vendors of other collectibles.
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