Abduction of chloe (l'enlevement de chloe)

Apr 30, 2018. 17:40 UTC
Abduction of Chloe (L'enlevement de Chloe)

Modern art

Acquired from
Auction House

For sale

It is a lithograph, 19 x 13 inches titled "Abduction of Chloe" from The Daphnis & Chloe Portfolio by artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985). Year: 1977, Printer: Teriade Editeur, Paris. Hand signed lower right by the artist Marc Chagall. Certificate of authenticity and signature from Edward Weston Fine Art.


Purchased from auction (Art Legacy) in Chicago. Previous ownership unknown but I was told there are not many of these around.

$100 - $200 (United States Dollar)
Answered within about 1 hour
Apr 30, 18:40 UTC
By Erin-Marie Wallace

Dear John,

Thank you for submitting this lithograph to Mearto. Would you please upload a clearer image of the signature? Thank you and I look forward to assisting you.



John rethmetakis Apr 30, 19:26 UTC

Dear Erin-Marie,

Here is a clearer picture. It is difficult to take given the background and if I use any other light to highlight the signature, it shows a glare. Hope this one helps.

Erin-marie wallace Apr 30, 19:39 UTC

Dear John,

Thank you for taking the time to add images of the signature area of your lithograph. This image was released as part of a lithograph portfolio with 42 color illustrations after original images by Marc Chagall. The portfolio was published by George Braziller, Inc. and although the publication was not numbered, it is though that 250 were released. Regarding value, the 1977 portfolio was not hand signed and while I cannot see the signature you uploaded clearly, it is either a forgery or in the print. At auction, images from this edition sell in the $100USD to $200USD range.

Do let me know if you have any follow-up questions.



John rethmetakis Apr 30, 20:21 UTC

Dear Erin,

Thank you for your comments. I am just curious in knowing where the signature came from. Are you sure that the 1977 portfolio was never hand signed? What about the certificate of authenticity signed by Edward Winston Fine Arts, does this not authenticate anything? Should I contact them directly? Finally, the asking price at the auction was significantly higher than the $100USD to $200USD range. Here is a similar description:

Description: Marc Chagall Mourlot Press large lithograph from 1977. Hand signed by the artist Marc Chagall. Custom framed Includes certificate of authenticity. Approx 28x24 inches.
Artist or Maker: Marc Chagall
Medium: Lithograph
Condition Report: Excellent Condition.

I am just confused with all of this but thank you Erin-Marie.

Erin-marie wallace Apr 30, 20:58 UTC

Dear John,

These are great questions to ask, I welcome them! So... here's a bit of a breakdown and if you have any follow-up questions to this, please let me know. The 1977 edition was lithographically printed through George Braziller, Inc. and was printed as a book. The original pressing of the Daphne and Chloe series was in 1961 and a small quantity were signed but the paper size does not conform to yours. The original from 1961 measures 21 3/16" x 14 13/16" and is numbered out of 60. The 1977 book included a couple of 'centerfold' images which are discernable from a faint crease in the center of the image, like your example. The 1st edition lithographs do not have this crease. The 1977 edition was also printed to the edge of the paper. One last point, I would not expect this to be signed under any circumstance without an edition number extant and unless I've missed something this piece does not have an edition number.

I would follow-up with the auction house and ask for clarification, perhaps they have information on how this piece came to be signed which is outside of the regular edition. If that is the case, I recommend that you request they provide it to you.

I hope this resolves some of your confusion, but let me know if you have any lingering questions.



John rethmetakis Apr 30, 22:00 UTC

Dear Erin - Marie,

You are wonderful. Thank you! I appreciate your comments. I have written just now to Art Legacy and asked them where this signature comes from since it has no edition number. It is obviously from the 1977 edition which has the crease. I am perplexed where the signature comes from since it appears to be the artist's signature which is very visible in the lithograph but harder to photograph as a photo because of the dark background. I do hope they get back to me with an explanation. If they do not provide a satisfactory answer then the certificate of authenticity from Edward Fine Art verifying the authenticity of the lithograph would then be in doubt, would it not?

I do have two questions: do many of these auction houses perpetuate dishonesty when they place these works of art up for auction. In other words, is forgery a common risk for collectors. Secondly, if so, where would a 'newbie' like me go to collect art work knowing that I am purchasing something of merit and value.

Many kind regards Erin-Marie.


Erin-marie wallace May 01, 17:44 UTC

Dear John,

Again, great questions. The first recommendation I have for an eager collector like yourself is to do as much research as possible on the items before bidding, this may include making an investment into one of the proper Catalogues of the artist's work, as an example, this is one of the widest used for the prints of Chagall: 'Chagall: The Lithographs, The Sorlier Collection - A Catalogue Raisonne'. The volume will break down a print by year produced, paper type, edition size and if it was signed. Books like this will be invaluable if your interest includes artists like Chagall, Miro, Dali, Picasso as the like. All of these artists also released later editions of earlier prints, some in limited edition folios and books, the details of which which usually do not conform to the originally released image. Do not be discouraged, consider it a sleuthing project, many of these later editions do have value in their own right and some are climbing. You could also consider collecting the books themselves as completed editions are becoming harder and harder to find. Additionally, complete folios and books are often exactly what they seem and some editions have been signed and numbered by the artist on the frontispiece.
As to the Auction Houses, it's a harder question to answer.... The items that a House sells are only as 'good' as the knowledge of the person cataloging and the time the auction house has to spend researching any individual lot so the issues can easily be 'mistakes' rather than 'intentional dishonesty'.
The signature was likely added later but by whom, we may never know. It's possible that a collector convinced Chagall to hand sign a plate in her book but without provenance we may never know for sure.
Let me know if you have any follow-up questions and I am happy to assist.



John rethmetakis May 01, 19:39 UTC

Hi Erin-Marie,

Thank you again for your words of wisdom. I have another appraisal that I will be submitting when I have a chance but I would like you to do it.
However, I am still working on the Marc Chagall signature mystery. I got the following reply back from Art Legacy:

The Chagall lithograph is hand signed or autographed by Marc Chagall. It is not a hand signed and numbered limited edition lithograph.

Please give us a call for further clarification.

Thank you

I am calling her now to see if I can get clarification. I don't think she understands that it is not supposed to be signed unless it has an edition number.

Erin-marie wallace May 01, 20:12 UTC

You've got a great start John,

It's possible there is documentation to support the signature so keep an open mind. I am available to assist you further whenever you are ready; all you'll need to do is begin your next query "For Erin-Marie" and it will find its way to me. In the meantime, I am wishing you the best of luck with your Chagall.


John rethmetakis May 04, 15:04 UTC

Hi Erin-Marie,

I thought I would give you a follow up and conclusion to this Marc Chagall print.

After communicating with you, I received a phone call from an appraiser here in Vancouver at an art gallery that specializes in modern and European art. They actually have original Marc Chagalls as well as Picasso and Dali's and I had spoken to the woman previously and I was suppose to bring my Chagall down to have a look at it. We never did because she was involved in an unveiling of an original Dali sculpture at her gallery. We were able to speak on the phone though and she said that what I have is a forgery. She referred to the catalogue raisonne and stated there is nothing in there about 1977 Dahnis and Chloe collection. There are no signatures and that this signature was added on by someone. She said, "if it was true that Chagall signed this artwork, then this information would be in the book. You can also see there is no edition from 1977. When it comes to authentication, there is no speculation about stories and possible scenarios, they are based on facts only".

I was also able to find the real copy of what I have 'The Abduction of Chloe' on sale by an art gallery in Palm Springs. It is authenticated and they are asking $105,000.00 for it.

I then phoned back the auction house in California that I had bought this from (by the way, I paid $550 US for the Chagall). The lady was adamant that it was a signed Chagall, that the signature appears in the bottom and that it was worth $5,000. When I told her about my research and the catalogue raison which she was not aware of, she said, "if you are not happy, just return it".

So I am returning the Marc Chagall to them. They are willing to take it back. It saddens me because it looks nice and I like it but it seems like it is a forgery. One thing did stick in my mind (and I had thought of this) is that the Vancouver appraiser mentioned to me on the phone "Why would they let a $5,000 Marc Chagall go for $550? It does not make sense?

I don't know if I am doing the right thing. But I am returning it for a refund.

By the way, I did follow your advice and I have ordered Chagall: 'Chagall: The Lithographs, The Sorlier Collection - A Catalogue Raisonne'. It is being shipped to me.


Erin-marie wallace May 07, 17:54 UTC

Dear John,

I commend you for ordering the Chagall book, I have it in my library and have found it and others like it to be indispensable to authentication, knowledge is key with prints by/after Chagall and artists of his ilk.

I am pleased to hear the auction house is willing to take a refund for your satisfaction. As most items sold at auction are, 'as is - where is' it is to their credit they will offer a refund.

You could always purchase the 1977 book and frame the print, while it wouldn't have the signature you would know exactly what it was and still have the visual enjoyment.

Thank you for taking the time to update me on your situation, moments like these are simply a part of learning about the subject in which you have interest and all things considered not too painful a lesson to learn.

Kindest Regards,


John rethmetakis May 07, 18:13 UTC

Hello Erin-Marie,

Again thank you for your comments. The Chagall book is expensive but I found a bookseller in Netherlands and was able to order it from him and not too expensive a price. I should get it in a month.

I am dismayed and am now dubious of these auction sites because I think many of them knowingly sell art that is fraudulent. Perhaps the auction house took it back because they did not want to have any problems with me which could call into question their credibility with other customers going forward.

I would really like to get an original of Chagall but I am now so dubious of these auction sites. The other lady here in Vancouver at the downtown art gallery said all of these auction sites are dubious. I am looking to get something not necessarily at expensive market value.

I had not thought of getting the 1977 book and copying a print myself without the signature. I remember the other appraiser saying the print would be more valuable without the signature than without it because with it, it is a forgery.

Best Wishes,


Erin-marie wallace May 07, 18:24 UTC

Dear John,

I know for a fact that you can get an authentic, hand-signed Chagall from auction. You simply have to be well armed with knowledge. As you search what auction houses are selling, before you bid, use the book to verify the catalogue details, doing this, you will quickly learn which houses are taking the time to property describe the pieces they are selling and those are the houses you bid with. Think of this as a fun challenge, truly, 'the person with the most subject knowledge wins'.


John rethmetakis May 07, 18:29 UTC

Thank you Erin-Marie,

As always you are great! I will do this.

Many thanks,


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