Peter Doig painting claim thrown out in Chicago

A court in Chicago has upheld artist Peter Doig's claim that he did not paint a landscape attributed to him by a former prison officer.

The lawsuit was filed by a Canadian parole officer, Robert Fletcher, who claims to have bought the work from Doig while the artist was serving time in a youth correctional facility in Ontario for an LSD charge in 1976.

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The claim reads: "Fletcher helped Doig to obtain employment through the Seafarers Union in Thunder Bay.

"Fletcher also encouraged Doig to pursue his artistic talent and accepted Doig's offer to sell the work for $100.

"Since that day, in or about 1976 to the present, Fletcher has owned the work."

If the work had been by Doig it could have been expected to sell for several million.

However, Doig was able to prove he never painted the piece (and had not been in prison in Ontario) and the claim was thrown out.

In the case notes Doig states: "I did not begin to paint on canvas until late 1979…

"If I had painted that painting when I was 16, I would admit it."

The case was rare as questions of authenticity usually arise long after an artist's death.  

Occasionally things can go the other way - just recently experts proved that a painting long rejected by Lucian Freud was actually his work.

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