Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Monday, May 3, 2021

Buyer Beware!

Another spurious John R. Neill drawing has emerged on the market from Rhyton Gallery - this is the third that I've seen in the past year, and this time the artist has chosen to try replicating a drawing that I own.

 The drawing chosen is a chapter heading of Glinda, from 1914's Tik-Tok of Oz. The other two copied drawings that the gallery offered were both based on pieces from The Wonder City of Oz, a much later title featuring Neill's late style of drawing - bolder and simpler. In attempting the more delicate style of Glinda, the artist's deficiencies are pronounced - there's really no comparison between the original and the copy.

 Aside from the obvious visual differences, the new drawing is on paper rather than artist's board. The artist was probably unaware of the fact that the original of this illustration is drawn on a much larger board than the image itself. The double ruled line beneath the drawing, something seen on most of the chapter titles from this book, has been discarded and a nice fat fake signature has been added - in spite of the fact that none of the Tik-Tok drawings are signed. It's the same signature seen on the other two drawings previously offered, and of the wrong style for this time period.

While I feel the addition of the signature makes this an outright forgery, it doesn't stop the piece being offered. There has at least been an improvement in the style of listing on Live Auctioneers. Rather than being listed as "attributed to" John R. Neill, it is now listed as "in the manner of". This is a significant change, as anyone can try drawing something in the manner of another artist - but there’s no excuse for sticking a fake signature on the piece. The listing already has two bids  - as always in collecting, Buyer Beware!