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What recourse is there after buying a fake painting that was advertised at auction as an original work by a well-known artist?

Plattsburgh, NY |

At a public auction in New York State, I purchased a painting that was advertised and sold as being an authentic, original work by a renowned 20th century artist. The painting turned out to be a fake, according to an art expert who did a formal, post-auction appraisal of the painting in question. What are my legal options? I'm also seeking the legal category this type of action falls under: fraud, misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, breach of warranties, etc. Thank you.

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Attorney answers 3


You have to read the catalog and sales documents for disclaimers. Have you called the auction house to see if it will reverse the sale? Try to find a lawyer who deals in art sales.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


Maybe all causes of actions that you stated, plead in the alternative. First consult with a local lawyer to see if a settlement can be reached instead of costly litigation. Bring along the bill of sale and catalog when consulting with your attorney.

If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or


Demand that the purchase be rescinded or sue them for what you paid. One of my colleagues in my office handles these sorts of matters with galleries and auction houses, as do many people here on AVVO.

The foregoing is not legal advice nor is it in any manner whatsoever meant to create or impute an attorney/client relationship.

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