― Oscar Wilde
“Behind every Plagiarism there is Google”
― Vikash Shrivastava
Misattribution, of course, is when a quotation or work is accidentally or intentionally attributed to someone other that its creator. I can't imagine this would ever have happened to my father--an utterly and intentionally unknown artist (Joe Rice 1918-2011)--were it not for the wonders of the internet.
Googling his name (his birth name of Joseph Flavius Rice) my sister chanced upon a website offering a painting for sale for $6000. I am fairly certain the painting is not a Joe Rice, for a number of reasons. The color palette and design are utterly atypical. The "signature" is not in my father's hand and the seller could offer no substantiation or rationale for why the painting is being attributed to Joe Rice (who never used his full birth name professionally or in connection with his art).
Additionally, all of the information offered about the painting appears drawn from either this website or
The Reluctant Artist, my 2015 book about my father and his art.
I'm not sure whether to be pleased or concerned.
Here's the link to the website offering the painting, Joseph Flavius Rice Hard Edge Painting and, below, a photograph of the work in question.
The website offers the following information and "details" about the painting:
About Joseph Flavius Rice hard edge painting, circa late 1960s. This masterful example pencil signed on the back blends striking color with flawless technique. Rice was a bay area artist and teacher. A book written by his daughter Dorothy was published recently." From 1st Dibs website.
Wear consistent with age and use
36 in.Hx72 in.Wx1.5 in.D
91 cmHx183 cmWx4 cmD
- SELLER LOCATION
- NUMBER OF ITEMS
I should note that the gentlemen from the 1st Dibs website who responded to my e-mail inquiries was prompt and cordial. He sent me photographs of the "signature," indicated that he would let the seller know about my questions (1st Dibs would appear to have taken the painting on consignment) and that, in the meantime, until further verification of authenticity was offered, he would remove the attribution to Joseph Flavius Rice. That said, as of this writing (several weeks after my inquiries) the attribution remains unaltered.
I don't know why anyone would buy this painting, but it would be interesting (?) if they did.