Costco sells art

May 26, 2006 — 2 Comments

When it comes to Costco, I always say, “If they don’t have it, you don’t need it.” It turns out if you buy art, Costco might have something for you, too…

Check this story out from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Costco shoppers who were hoping to pick up some fine art along with their groceries won’t be able to buy a Picasso from the nation’s largest wholesale-club operator this week. The drawing offered for $145,999.99 has been pulled from the company’s Web site.

Jim Sinegal, Costco’s chief executive, said “Picador in a Bullfight” was taken off the site after one of Picasso’s children, Maya Widmaier-Picasso, questioned the authenticity certificates of that drawing and two others already sold by the company.

“We’re still trying to ferret out where we’re at on this thing,” Sinegal said Thursday.

He said the company thoroughly researched the authenticity of this drawing and the other two before offering them to the public.

“That doesn’t mean we’re infallible,” he said, adding, “We would be terribly embarrassed if there was a flaw in our system.”

The company called the customers who bought the other drawings from Costco.com as soon as they heard The New York Times was doing a story questioning the authenticity of similar drawings.

The New York Times story was published in Thursday’s Seattle P-I.

Sinegal said both customers declared themselves satisfied with their purchases, but if it turns out the drawings are not authentic, they will be offered their money back.

Art dealer Jim Tutwiler has been selling art through Issaquah-based Costco for the past decade. He described a crayon-on-paper Picasso drawing sold in January 2005 as a “doodle” on the blank side of a book jacket. The work was signed and dated Nov. 29, 1970.

That drawing and a Picasso sold in November 2004 on Costco.com both came with a handwritten and signed declaration from Widmaier-Picasso.

But Widmaier-Picasso told The New York Times that she questions the authenticity of “Picador in a Bullfight” and its authentication certificate, which also purports to have been drawn up and signed by her.

She contends the document is a forgery, citing concerns ranging from grammar to handwriting.

Sinegal said Costco officials checked the authentication certificates that accompanied their drawings and found only one of her five concerns to be an issue on the company’s certificates, which were further verified by the International Society of Appraisers.

Check out the story from the Seattle P-I HERE or the original story from the NY Times HERE.

Pat Callahan

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I'm a picker. I'm a grinner. I'm a lover. And I'm a sinner. I make my music in the sun.

2 responses to Costco sells art

  1. Haha, imagine getting a Picasso from Costco!

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