It always disturbs me when I find an outright fake selling anywhere. I ran across this obviously 20th century fake Edouart being sold by a dealer (business) who sells a large volume of antique items which they take on consignment. It is very obviously not by Edouart. Thinking that this dealer business tries to keep a good reputation, I sent a message through ebay telling them the points about this silhouette that prove it is not by Edouart.
My email to the seller said, “You need to know that this silhouette is fake. The cutting is nothing like Edouart, the feet are not positioned correctly, he never cut double eyelashes, the cutting is not smooth and has none of his trademark hair, button holes, cut away collar. The signature is definitely not his and the black ink shows that it is not a period inscription. I know you try to hold up a good reputation. You should take this listing down. You can see many, many real Edouarts on my website peggymcclard.com.” Edouart never used laid paper, but I forgot to mention that to the seller….my goodness the rest of the list seemed to be sufficient!
I received the following message back from the seller, “Thank you Peggy. I’ll pass the info on to the bosses and consignor.”
That response was yesterday, Friday at 11:02 am. Today, Saturday, at 2:20 pm, the listing stands as before:
……Auguste Edouart (1789-1861) was a French Silhouettist of human and animals. In 1825 he began making Silhouettes which he quickly turned into a very successful career for himself. He was one of the few Silhouettists who hand-cut his silhouettes with scissors instead of using some of the popular machines that had been created. He worked throughout Europe until 1839 when he came to America and works in Boston, DC, Philadelphia, New Orleans and New York. When Edouart traveled back to France in 1849 he lost most of his Silhouette duplicates in a shipwreck, he was so devastated by the loss, he never returned to the profession again.
……This auction is for an authentic 19th century Auguste Edouart Silhouette of the important historical American Politician, Henry Clay (1777-1852.) Including the laid-paper this silhouette measures 6” by 9 ½” and the cut-out alone is 7 ½” tall. Hand written along the side of the silhouette is, “Taken at Washington 10 Mar 1841, Aug Edouart, Fecit.” Below this inscription it reads, “Henry Clay Grator [sic], Sect of Flate [sic] Lexington Ky, 1841.” In our photographs you can see that there is toning, as well as some crinkling to the laid-paper up near Clay’s head and along the bottom edge. There is also a tear to the bottom right hand corner of the paper, but the silhouette itself is perfect! This authentic 1841 Auguste Edouart Silhouette of Henery [sic] Clay comes framed under early thin glass in its original 8” by 11 ½” Birdseye Maple veneer frame.
The listing currently has a top bid of $230.50, 18 bids by 6 bidders. The ebay listing is # 351146439877. The link is http://www.ebay.com/itm/351146439877?ru=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fsch%2Fi.html%3F_from%3DR40%26_sacat%3D0%26_nkw%3D351146439877%26_rdc%3D1
This listing is a real travesty. Don’t let the high bidder of this fake silhouette be you!
Liz says, “What a horrendous silhouette. I hope the high bidder is perhaps just interested in the frame!”
Peggy responds, I gotta agree with your there Liz. It is horrendous. Unfortunately, too often buyers are swayed by a name attached even if the piece is horrible. The frame is a nice one but pretty chewed up around the edges. The bidding is now on the upper side of the value of that frame.
From Joy, “Years ago we had a call from a Boston “collector” who had dozens of dubious Edouarts. They were all signed like this one, all in period frames, and all had some foxing, as this one appears to. I don’t remember anything about the paper, but if memory serves me, this appears to be from that group.”
Peggy responds, Joy, I’ve seen a number of these that obviously came from the same faker. Most of the ones I’ve seen in the past have been multiple figures. Apparently, the faker decided using the name of Henry Clay would allow this fake to stand as an individual. The entire group of these had this weird double eyelash. There is also another group with squared off heads–different faker, I’m sure.
Update 8/18/2014. Thanks to two readers for also contacting this seller about the fake. After the third complaint from the third person, the seller finally cancelled the ebay listing. We all know that this silhouette will show up on the market somewhere else so just beware of it and others that have the same characteristics.
From Gary on 5/22/16: It is up for sale now on Liveauctioneers.com.
Yes readers, this fake Edouart is up for auction from Marian Antique Auctions. Beware of it.