The DalĂ Sculpture Mess: Misinformation, unauthorized editions, ownership disputes, and outright fraud have flooded the m
The market for Salvador DalĂâs sculptures remains plagued by misinformation, unauthorized editions, ownership disputes, and some outright fraud. Questionable works are still flooding the market.
For years it has rankled the Gala-Salvador DalĂ Foundation that many travelers to Barcelona first encountered DalĂâs works at Museo DalĂ Escultor (DalĂ Sculptor Museum), a commercial exhibition of memorabilia and late bronzes in the cityâs tourist district. In June, the foundation won a three-year court battle with Museo DalĂ Escultor when a Barcelona court agreed that the spaceâs owner was misusing the DalĂ âbrandâ and deliberately misleading consumers into thinking it was an official museum. The decision is under appeal, but the foundation has petitioned the court to close the exhibition in the meantime. Joan Manuel Sevillano Campalans, the foundationâs managing director, believes that he now has a precedent for demanding changes in the marketing tactics of other actors in the market who are improperly exploiting the copyrights, trademarks, or images of Salvador DalĂ.
It was a rare victory for the foundation in its attempts to police a murky backwater of the DalĂ oeuvre: the production and sale of sculptures that were commissioned late in the artistâs life and continue to be cast and sold long after his death, in 1989. Since a 2008 article in ARTnews first described the burgeoning industry in DalĂ sculpture multiples, the foundation has been employing legal actions and moral suasion in an effort to slow the spread of the works. Among other actions, it has been in a legal battle with another DalĂ exhibition, in Berlin, over its marketing tactics for several years. Its scant progress so far shows how difficult it is for even a well-heeled foundation to gain control of a major artistâs legacy.
A lengthy ARTnews investigation reveals that the market for late DalĂ sculptures remains plagued by misinformation, unauthorized editions, ownership disputes, and some outright fraud. The sculptures also continue to flood the auction marketâ including, recently, at Sothebyâs, which, along with Christieâs, had for two years virtually stopped selling DalĂ sculptures.