Truth is stranger than fiction

Truth is stranger than fiction

Written by Monica Arora

Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi had written, “All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways.” Truth it is said is sometimes stranger than fiction and the following two stories are ample proof of that adage.

Image courtesy: Mercury Press

It was just another outing at the Museum for mommy and sonny when the two were left completely stumped and spooked. Louise Murphy had taken her 9-year-old son Owen to visit the Riverside Museum in Glasgow and after some time, decided to click photographs in the building’s Victorian-themed street.

And to her utter horror and dismay, Louise was “shocked to discover the haunting image of a little girl with long brown hair, waving at the camera and wearing a floral dress.” At the time, only her son Owen was standing with her and that was all the more worrying and unsettling for the mother-son duo.

The most distressing part of the entire incident was the photograph in question: The ghost apparition’s entire face was almost “blanked out apart from what appears to be the hollow shape of a black eye looking directly at the camera.”

A mother of two, Louise, who comes from Carlisle, Cumbria, said: “It definitely looks like a young girl to me. Some people have said it is a little boy but it appears like it is wearing a dress with flowers on it. It has long brown curly hair too. In the pictures I took in the same spot before this one, you can see a mist forming at the bottom of the picture and then she appears. It was like she was forming in the mist, which makes me think it was maybe paranormal. I tried to think logically about it a first but couldn’t come up with a way to rationalise it.” Louise claims her son Owen was also left “unsettled” by the image.

In another bizarre report from the art world, Peter Doig has won an authentication trial for a disputed work of art that depicts a desert landscape. Art dealer Peter Bartlow and a former corrections officer Robert Fletcher, claimed he had painted the disputed art work in question as a teen and sought $7.9 million in damages. However, on 23 August, Judge Gary Feinerman at the Federal District court for Northern Illinois ruled that, “Doig absolutely did not paint the disputed work.” He added, “Most narratives in law and life have gaps. Very few narratives are airtight. This is especially true when considering events from 40 years ago, and all the more so when the events are routine quotidian events of daily life.”

Matthew S. Dontzin, Doig’s lawyer and representative of Michael Werner Gallery, another defendant in the case stated, “I have rarely seen such a flagrant example of unethical conduct in the US courts nor a case that inflicted such needless burdens on a defendant. Artists should be grateful to Peter for having the ethical and financial fortitude to fight tirelessly to ensure that justice prevailed in today’s verdict.”

In a statement, the accused Doig opined, “Today’s verdict is the long overdue vindication of what I have said from the beginning four years ago: a young talented artist named Pete Edward Doige painted this work, I did not. That the plaintiffs in this case have shamelessly tried to deny another artist his legacy for money is despicable. The deceased artist’s family and my family and friends have suffered mightily. Thankfully, justice prevailed, but it was way too long in coming. That a living artist has to defend the authorship of his own work should never have come to pass.”


The Peter Doige painting in question! Photo: ARIS Title ‏@ARIS_ArgoGroup via Twitter.

In the strange trial that lasted many weeks, Judge Feinerman reviewed all minute details of the case painstakingly and went through every shred of evidence provided, and only after he was satisfied with Peter Doig and his mother’s credible testimonials regarding Doig’s whereabouts, employment, education, and so on, which were backed up by “more than ample evidence,” did the ruling come about.

In affirming his ruling that “Peter Doige almost certainly painted the work,” Judge Feinerman described the deceased man’s sister’s testimony as “the cherry on top of the sundae.” He re-iterated the fact that Doig’s representatives had threatened suit only if the painting was sold “as a work by Mr. Doig,” the judge stated that “An artist is well within his rights to ensure that works he did not create are not sold under his name.”

Gordon VeneKlasen, co-owner of Michael Werner Gallery also stated that “Peter and his family have endured an untold amount of stress and public scrutiny as a result of this senseless lawsuit. The court has ruled in his favor, although we are deeply disappointed that it has taken so long to do so. It is our hope that this verdict will have at least one good outcome—that artists maintain the unfettered right to authenticate their own work.”

And finally, to cool off with some aesthetics from the world of Street Art, Berlin-based David Walker has completed his latest “piece” somewhere on the streets of Nancy in France. It has been reported that, “Abiding by self-imposed constraints, such as using no brushes or stencils, the British street artist pushes his unique direction with yet another superb street piece which is his biggest to date.”

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