Internet Fraud Complaint Center
ANATOMIES OF THE
JERRY SCHUSTER'S BAG OF TRICKS
The man and woman barred by eBay and enjoined
from selling art by the New York Attorney General pulled off their cons
through a handful of surprisingly simple means. And they succeeded, to
some extent, through the willing suspension of disbelief of the buyers.
This "Guy Pene du Bois" painting was actually done by an artist named A. Weill.
According to a document filed by the N.Y. Assistant Attorney General, Jerry
and Jill Schuster, who run The Antique & Design Center in Windsor New
York, used eBay to sell dozens of paintings by anonymous or little known
artists during 1998 and 1999. Many of the paintings were decades old and
had the comforting air of age, and the Schusters claimed they were
authentic works by known American artists. The AG asserts that the
Schusters not only knew that the works were inauthentic but that the
paintings bore forged signatures.
In one case, that of a purported Ernest L. Blumenschein landscape, the
false signature was put on the paintings backwards, though the signature
was not illustrated in the posting on eBay.
A painting supposedly by American artist Guy Pene du Bois bore a fake
signature on the painting's lower left. On the lower right was the faint
signature of the original artist, the unknown A. Weill. That signature was
clear to the Schusters, who handled the painting, but not visible to the
Joseph Sharon was one of Schuster buyers, though he came out of the
experience whole. It took him two months to get a refund for a supposed
Martha Walter painting entitled Picnic for which he paid about
But Sharon has had other bad experiences buying on eBay. He once bought a
"Rockwell" painting that wasn't by Norman Rockwell. When he
asked for his money back, the seller said it was by Douglas Rockwell.
In another instance he bought a Jean Baptiste Camille Corot but found that
the signature was forged and the painting a fake. He called the gallery
and demanded his money back. The gallery worker in turn called her local
police department and said he was harassing her!
Jerald Beverland, of Florida, got no money back from Schuster for small
paintings supposedly by Robert Vonnoh ($715), Henry Harpignies (signed
"G SUSS," $850 plus shipping), or on a Walt Kuhn "watercolor"
that turned out to be a print.
How did he know the paintings were fakes? Beverland says, "when I put
a black light on them the signatures just jump up and run out the back door."
Continued: A FAKE WITH A TWIST
Introduction to Object ID: Guidelines for Making Records That Describe Art, Antiques, and Antiquities
by Robin Thornes
The Art Forger's Handbook
by Eric Hebborn
The Commissar Vanishes : The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin's Russia
by David King
by Sandor Radnoti
Detecting Forgery: Forensic Investigation of Documents
by Joe Nickell
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