This page takes a look at the development of the prices for which the four forged artists were sold after 1990, after the forgeries became known.
If we look at the prices of Altink paintings, we can see that after 1990 the majority of the paintings were sold at a price range of up to € 10.000, with most paintings selling for between € 2.000 and € 5.000. It is noteworthy to see that all major sales above this price range took place between 1999 and 2010, with 26 paintings being sold for € 10.000 or more. This largely coincides with the lull in negative reporting on Altink works that took place between 1996 and 2012. The effect of the Altink II Affair verdict can be seen in the significant disparity between prices before 2012 and after 2012. Before 2012 the highest hammer price for an Altink was recorded on the 30th of May 2006, when Christie’s sold Vroeg voorjaarslandschap met slootje (1924) for € 45.000. After 2012 the highest hammer price was recorded on 17th of June 2013, when Arts & Antiquities Group sold Summer Landscape (1935) for € 4.500. Not only does this constitute a 90% drop in the highest price, but more significantly: after 2012 no Altink painting was sold for more than € 4.500. The effects of the Altink II Affair can be clearly seen in the prices for which Altink paintings were sold after 2012. The negative press, combined with the unmasking of Van L. and the publication of the number of forged Altinks on the market, has virtually destroyed the value of Altink paintings.
Dijkstra’s work shows a less clear distinction between periods in its sales figures. Remarkable is that the number of Dijkstra-works sold for over € 10.000 far exceeds that of Altink: it concerns a total of 52 paintings (of which the sales were scattered between 1990 and 2017). The two most lucrative sales of a Dijkstra artwork were of the same painting: Farms in a Groningen Landscape, which was sold at Christie’s in 1998 and 2014 for € 53.300 and € 65.000 respectively. It seems that the market for Dijkstra’s work wasn’t hit as hard as the market for Altink’s works, which is most probably the result of Altink and his oeuvre suffering from negative press coverage, while Dijkstra’s work – and more importantly the forgeries of his work – seem to have been able to stay off the radar. Even though the top segment seems healthier than that of Altink, a steep decline can be seen with works under € 10.000. After the 52 paintings that were sold for over € 10.000, the price drops almost immediately to the range of between € 2.000 and € 5.000, as can also be seen with the prices of Altink’s works. So even though the trust in paintings made by Dijkstra is greater than those made by Altink, there is still a considerable segment of art that is either considered dodgy or of low quality.
As can also be seen before 1990, the price for Werkman’s work after 1990 is relatively stable. 27 of his works were auctioned for prices above € 10.000, while the rest of his works keep fetching roughly the same prices they did before 1990, with a slight overall increase. The biggest deviations here are two major sales. The first one being the sale of The Farm Pollux at Zuurdijk at € 55.000 at Christie’s on 10 December 1996 (setting a new record for the most lucrative sale of an artwork by Werkman); the second one being the sale of a series of his works: Chassidische legenden was sold for €91.500 at Sotheby’s in 2003 (surpassing the earlier record of 1996). Werkman’s work has not suffered as much from the forgery scandal as, for example, Altink’s. This is most probably because Werkman died during the Second World War, when his oeuvre had already been reasonably well established.
The prices fetched by works of Jan Wiegers are the most polarised of all of the Plough artists of whom forgeries have been discovered. The top segment of his work fetched a significantly higher price than either Dijkstra or Altink. The highest price his work was auctioned for was € 216.750, which was for the painting Music Hall (1921). Apart from this sale, there were five other paintings sold for € 60.000 or more, making the top segment of Wiegers’ work the most valuable. Like we saw with Dijkstra as well, there is no time period that can be directly linked to the price changes of Wiegers’ paintings; their patterns are somewhat similar. There were 33 sales for over € 10.000, after that the prices for Wiegers’ paintings also quickly fall to the range between
€ 2.000 and € 5.000. Similar to Dijkstra’s work, there is a top segment which seems to be accepted as authentic and of high quality, but after this top segment, Wiegers’ work quickly slides down towards the realm of dubious paintings, either because of authenticity or quality.
If we look at the hammer prices of the works of the artists sold after 1990, we see that a major part of their sales is in the lower segment of € 2.000 to € 5.000. The discrepancies between these works and absolute authentic and genuine paintings can best be seen in the sales prices of works by Dijkstra and Wiegers, whose top segment works fetch reasonably high prices, especially compared to the lower segment. Most interesting though is the price trend that can be seen in Altink’s work. Altink’s oeuvre, having suffered from the negative attention surrounding the two Altink Affairs, fetches considerably lower prices than that of Dijkstra or Wiegers. Also remarkable is the fact that, after the Altink II Affair became fully public, no work by Altink was ever sold for more than € 4.500. This shows how damaging a forgery scandal can be for the monetary value of an artist’s work.
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