for Art Fraud

by: Lee Catterall

   Salvador Dali' signed thousands of blank pieces of print paper in dealings with dirty publishers which resulted in an estimated $12 million a year earnings. The market in Dali' prints was damaged from this and many fake Dali' prints with forged signatures began to circulate as well. Lee Catterall chronicled this massive art fraud in his book The Great Dali' Art Fraud & Other Deceptions, Barricade Books, 1992. A huge scam that ended in a 1991 raid of a Long Island warehouse, where 50,000 fake Dali' prints were confiscated. 20,000 Miros and over 600 Chagalls were also seized (all bogus prints). The following information is taken from Mr. Catterall's web site ( which can be reached via our links page)
and posted with his permission:

   Law enforcement brought the massive fraud associated with Dali' artworks crashing down in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Principles of Center Art Galleries in Hawaii and New Jersey Publisher Leon Amiel, who were exposed by Lee Catterall in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in the 1980s, could claim ties to Dali' and his entourage, but that did not lessen the fraud. Which is not to say that all the bogus prints that flooded the Dali' market in the 1970s and 1980s bore Dali's imprint, at least directly. Without question, he committed abuses to enrich himself from his fame, and those abuses opened the way for others to capitalize on the cesspool he had created.

Salvador Dali'; By C.V. Sabba; Fingerprint ink on fingerprint card done in fingerprints; May 2005

   Don't be fooled by Dali's signature on a print. He signed thousands of blank sheets of paper that later were used to reproduce Dali' images, usually paintings. More often, his signature was forged on such reproductions. He signed his name in so many ways that experts are at a loss in verifying an authentic Dali' signature. Before buying any Dali' print, also consider Dali's abuses, which constituted overt participation more than mere facilitation, in the manufacture of hundreds of thousands of "limited edition" prints bearing his name and his surrealistic images. While many of the paintings are authentic works of Dali', they have been reproduced in numerous "limited editions" and sold as "original" lithographs, etchings, etc.

   In Dali's mind, the signature may have been the least important ingredient to determine authenticity. The French art publisher Jean-Paul Delcourt, a signatory to some controversial Dali' prints, tells about acquiring a dozen "Dali'" lithographs from an American publisher and reselling them to an English dealer. The Englishman complained later that Enrique Sabater had declared them to be fakes, and a customer wanted his money back. The American publisher refused to do so because he had certificates of authenticity. Delcourt says he saw Dali' at the Meurice Hotel and showed the prints to Dali' and Gala.
   "Dali whispered into Gala's ear, and Gala repeated his statement to me: 'Dali' says the
       picture is good, the signature is good, but the work is a fake.'" Delcourt recalls.
   "Why is it a fake?" Delcourt asked.
   "The answer: 'Dali' has not been paid.'
   "This is the guiding thread of the entire affair," Delcourt says.
   "In all the contracts signed between Dali' and various publishers, Dali' never attached
      any importance either to moral rights or to the authorization to print. All he wanted
      was money."