I refer to the rather scathing attack on my honesty and good nature by Mr Gary Comenas from Warholstars last week.
As he is deemed to be a professional reporter, I was rather disappointed that he did not appear to check into any of the facts he stated in his very inaccurate report on his website. Mr Comenas never tried to contact me and just wrote an abundance of wishy-washy half truths.
Not being one to create friction, I invited Gary to my house for an open discussion so that he could rewrite the article and see why my find is totally authentic. I contacted him via Twitter, written letter and via e-mail. To date, I have received no reply. Please see a copy of the letter so you can rest assured that it was a polite attempt at rectifying Gary’s article.
Now that some people may have taken notice of his claptrap, I would like to take this opportunity of putting the things he referred to straight.
Fact 1. he states the drawing was ‘apparently’ tucked behind the drawing by Gertrude Stein. Correction – it was ‘definitely’ behind the other drawing.
Fact 2. Mr Comenas is not right by saying that I did not refer to any Warhol experts in the reports. The bottom line is in every report and TV interview which I conducted I did name several experts but the reporters or TV stations chose not to include that in their reports. I had no say in this. If Gary wants a complete list of experts, I would ask him to take up my offer of visiting me.
Fact 3. I did indeed take the picture to the Antiques Roadshow, and they did tell me to submit it to the Andy Warhol Authentication Board. What Mr Comenas did not realise was that the piece had already been viewed by the authentication board who put their own unique reference number on the front of the picture. You cannot get any higher than the official Andy Warhol Authentication Board!
Fact 4. In paragraph 4 Mr Comenas asks why I have not approached Christies or any of the other major legitimate auction houses to have it appraised. I have approached Christies on 2 occasions and am happy to give the details of the people I spoke to on request. I have also requested the same from Sotheby’s.
Fact 5. In paragraph 5, he asks why we were discussing Andy Warhol in the 1st place if the picture had not yet been discovered. The reason was because the gentleman concerned was telling us all about his childhood days and how he was good friends with Andy. Naturally, this progressed to him telling us about the long lost picture.
Fact 6. If Mr Comenas did his research correctly he would know that Gertrude Stein had a public signature and a private signature. Before any of this happened I had never even heard of her but when I had the pictures checked out it became clear that Gertrude had used her private signature; something no member of the public could ever have copied.
Fact 7. I believe Mr Comenas is splitting hairs when he says Americans do not say ‘Cor’. I was remembering what I had been told a couple of days earlier by an American gentleman. Forgive me if I cannot repeat verbatim what I was told. The context of what I was told is far more important. For example in England I may say ‘great’ and an American may say ‘swell’. Such petty reporting tells me that no matter what obvious facts are put in front of such a negative reporter, he will still refuse to believe the evidence.
Fact 8. I do not believe the picture is of Rudy Vallee, I know it is as the Seller told us so. As I mentioned in fact 5, he told us everything about what his aunt used to have. Until that day I had never even heard of Rudy Vallee.
Fact 9. For months I searched for the gentleman who sold me the picture as it would have been far easier to have gathered evidence for authentication purposes than to have tried to go it alone. This did involve me spending days at a time in casinos, putting out flyers, questioning neighbours and visiting addresses where I had tip-offs. If Mr Comenas doubts any of this he may be pleased to know that I kept a detailed video diary of nearly all of these events.
Fact 10. When Mr Comenas says that I claim the sketch was done when Andy was about 10 or 11 that is incorrect. The experts who believe in the picture have stated that fact. Am I going to disagree with experts? No! The same thing applies to the name ‘Warhol’. This was not my assumption as having Warhol on the picture instead of Warhola actually told me it was probably not authentic. However, the experts came up with this explanation – not me. In fact Gary, I have to congratulate you for clearing up this particular discrepancy as you have clearly stated in your article that Andy Warhol was signing his name without the ‘a’ much earlier than any other experts have cared to admit, so I really appreciate your advice and helping explain why my picture is authentic.
Fact 11. Gary goes on about the signatures and how different they are. Please see this picture which clearly shows how Warhol signatures changed from month to month on some of his more well-known pictures. To compare one signature with one another solitary signature is completely nonsensical. He goes on to say that Dr Audrey Giles confirmed that it was authentic. This is simply untrue as Dr Giles told me that she would need 15 other signatures from about the same period to compare it to. Well, as there were virtually none on record for the time that is impossible. So anything that Mr Comenas refers to regarding Dr Audrey Giles account must be completely disregarded.
Fact 12. I did say in my video that I would like the work to be in a museum. The reason is because I believe it would be a crime for me to own such a historical piece in England, particularly when it would be un-viewable by the public. Therefore, I am very keen for it to be in a museum and I’m very pleased to say that several museums have been in touch to exhibit it. I never said I would like to donate it as I would like to remain the owner of such an incredible find as owning all the pictures may result in them always being kept together.
My final word on this is to ask Mr Comenas why he has to hide behind his blog and not reply to reasonable requests to meet with me so that I can show him the evidence.
I can only assume it is because he knows in his heart of hearts that I have found the real thing. My offer to Gary and any other unsatisfied experts remains open.