S.H. Raza Exhibition of Fakes

Imagine coming towards the end of your career as an artist. You have achieved a lot of success and important galleries around the world regularly put together exhibitions of your life’s work. The galleries invite you around and treat you like royalty so that you will say a few words at the openings. Sounds like a nice way to spend old age after a lot of hard work.

Imagine being at the point described above, but arriving at your exhibition to find that most of the paintings are fakes! It’s the position that the famous Indian artist S.H. Raza found himself in recently.

The 85 year old Syed Haider Raza was invited to attend an exhibition of his work at the Dhoomimal Gallery in Connaught Place, New Delhi, India to find that most of the 35 works supposedly by him were fakes.

SH Raza told the Times of India “The gallery had my works on display and they invited me to visit the gallery on the opening evening. When I entered the gallery, I felt as if I had entered some other place since none of the works on display was mine. The fake makers should realise that creating fakes of someone’s works is like signing a cheque in someone else’s name.”

The gallery closed the show immediately after Raza informed them of the fakes.

At 85, I would hope that I still had a sense of humor and could laugh about it as the only other alternative would be to cry.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.

Comments

  1. Although I am not familiar with S.H. Raza, I am sure he must be a great artist. It is quite normal for an artist to feel upset with exhibition of fakes. However, if we can think differently, it becomes a kind of appreciation and acknowledgement. I think those people made fake paintings when they see the value of great artists.

  2. Wow! I can’t imagine an experience like that.

    I am sure that he is aware that there are many fakes of his works but to arrive at a major exhibition of his work and to find this???

    Crazy.

  3. It would be valuable to have people discuss how to prevent the co-opting of the work of artists. Does copywrite have an effect or is it just a useless expenditure of money? Is a copywrite effective only if the artist is willing to become litigious?
    I would be very interested to hear other artists’ idea.

  4. I posted this story on Monday, with a picture of one of the fakes, and it’s worse than you suggest (the story, as well as the art). According to the report I read, the source of the fakes was Raza’s own family! That’s why he refused to call in the police. A dodgy nephew is suspected.

    Cherie, this isn’t a copyright problem. It’s the crime of forgery, because all the works had Raza’s signature on them! That’s why the gallery suggested calling in the police. The original art is such tripe that only Raza and the faker know what’s what! In fact the fakes might be an improvement. The fake I published looked like a bad wallpaper design.

    Copyright isn’t just to protect artists etc. It’s a tricky balancing act between the right of the creator to gain some profit from his or her work and the right of the public to have access to that work. So it’s a brave artist – and a rich one – who goes to court to protect copyright.

    Warner Brothers came unstuck in India trying to protect its Harry Potter franchise. (A Bollywood film company had made a film called “Hari Puttar”.) Nothing to do with Harry Potter, the judge ruled. I wonder how much that legal fiasco cost Warner Bros.

  5. Yeah, that would have made it worse being family Ian. I would hunt the miserable little man down and prosecute him.. family or not.

    But like you say, if Hari Puttar is fine in India, copying paintings is probably ok too.

    I think his only option is to laugh about it and head back France. He’s too old to be worrying about this kind of crap.

  6. Maybe he wants to gain better control of his market. :)

  7. Copyright is a very weird concept invented by lawers to help themselves out of poverty. It doesn’t help creative people unless they are already stinking rich… like Harry Potters creator who appears to want to sue anyone for waving a magic wand around.

  8. The curators need to be more diligent in their efforts – -

    http://www.neotericart.com

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