Bob Dylan issued a rare public statement on Friday evening to admit that he “regrets” having made an “error in judgment” in using machine technology to put duplicate signatures on works of art and books that have been advertised and sold as hand-signed for the past three years. .
He says the use of automatic signatures has only happened since 2019, when he suffered from a case of vertigo, and throughout the pandemic, when he was unable to get help. by staff for the manual signature they had previously performed. Dylan says he was given “assurance that this sort of thing happens ‘all the time’ in the worlds of art and literature.” Now that it’s been revealed and sparked controversy, the singer-songwriter says, “I want to fix it immediately. I work with Simon & Schuster and my partner galleries to achieve this.
Other musicians have been suspected of using the autopen for allegedly hand-signed items, and in rare cases even acknowledged it, but the others did not sell art prints that regularly sell for between $3,000 and $15,000, as do Dylan’s fine art prints. Dylan’s statement that he used the autopen to sign artwork follows Simon & Schuster’s admission a week ago that a $600 bundle of autographed copies of Dylan’s new book, ” Philosophy of Modern Song”, was machine-signed, with refunds immediately offered.
UK-based gallery specializing in the sale of Dylan fine art prints, Castle Galleries, released a statement on Saturday to say it was “reaching out to each and every one of our collectors who have purchased a print of the editions ( relevant) to offer a solution to fully rectify the issue. It is believed that the galleries that have sold the recent artworks will announce a plan to address the issue early this week.
Dylan’s statement, posted to his Facebook account, says he hand-signed everything advertised as such through 2019. It reads:
“To my fans and subscribers, I have been informed that there is a controversy over signatures on some of my recent artwork prints and a limited edition of ‘Philosophy Of Modern Song’. I have hand-signed every fine art print over the years, and there has never been a problem,” the statement begins.
“However, in 2019 I had a bad case of vertigo and that continued through the pandemic years. It takes a team of five people working closely with me to enable these signings, and we don’t couldn’t find a safe and convenient way to complete what I needed to do while the virus was raging, so during the pandemic it was impossible to sign anything and the vertigo didn’t help. looming, the idea of using a self-pen was suggested to me, with the assurance that this kind of thing is done “all the time” in the world of art and literature.
Dylan’s statement concludes: “The use of a machine was an error in judgment and I want to rectify it immediately. I work with Simon & Schuster and my partner galleries to do just that. With my deepest regrets, Bob Dylan.
It’s unclear whether plans to remedy the artwork’s situation would involve refunds – which could potentially amount to at least hundreds of thousands of dollars – or the cheaper option of providing replacement prints that are truly hand-signed, if Dylan is up to it now – or some other unknown option. The “Philosophy of Modern Song” snafu, meanwhile, has already been resolved, with customers who bought the $600, 900-pound limited edition already being refunded this week by Simon & Schuster.
Representatives for Dylan did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment.
The statement from Castle Galleries, also posted on Facebook, reads: “We were informed late yesterday that during the Covid 19 pandemic Bob Dylan has used an autopen to sign several of his limited edition prints rather than his signature usual manual. These editions are: the Retrospectrum collection prints and the Sunset, Monument Valley print that we released this year. We can confirm that all other editions have been individually hand signed by Bob Dylan himself.
The gallery’s statement continues: “We were completely unaware of the use of autopen on these particular prints, and we sincerely apologize for any disappointment this may cause. We will be contacting each of our collectors who have purchased a print of the above editions to offer a solution to fully rectify the issue. Details on how we intend to resolve this issue will follow shortly.
On Sunday morning in the United States, prints of hundreds of different Dylan paintings were still advertised on the Castle Galleries website, and as “hand-signed”, priced from around £2,700 for the lowest individual print. expensive at £14,500.00. (or approximately US$17,500) for a set of six. Many, if not most, of these items predate the period in which the singer-artist says he began using machine technology, but collectors will no doubt be scrambling to figure out which side of the divide is locate their previous purchases.
Not all fans are unhappy with the signing revelations. On Dylan’s Facebook post expressing regret over autopen signatures, the more than a thousand replies that had been added on Sunday morning were overwhelmingly in favor of the singer, saying that duplicates weren’t a big deal to begin with and/or that he had taken a stand. thing by publicly apologizing. Many sympathized with Dylan for the vertigo he described himself as having suffered in 2019. (The artist’s statement did not say whether he still suffered from the condition.)
The Autograph Live website played a vital role in tracking what turned out to be easily detectable duplicate signatures on the books, although there were 17 different variations of the signature ultimately detected when users of the site have compared notes and screenshots.
Soon after the book duplicates were discovered, users began comparing signatures on their much more expensive fine art prints and apparently finding identical signatures, too… albeit in what might be called the self-pencil. So far, the general consensus on the forums seems to be the belief that what Dylan said in his Facebook statement is true – that impressions signed before 2019 or 2020 appear to have been individually signed.
Dylan’s statement that he suffered from dizziness is the first time this has been revealed to the public. The singer continues to be active, having resumed his vigorous touring routine with a highly acclaimed tour.
The post that has become a resource for those looking to compare notes on machine-generated signatures was created by Jason Hicks, who posts as Jason H on Autograph Live, who recounts Variety“Celebs need to learn a lesson to stop this practice of auto-opening for good, for the sake of our hobby. I hate auto-opening with a passion, which is why I’ve spent countless hours creating this post , comparing photos and organizing as much information as possible. … This hobby has been hurting me since before I was born. If autopen technology progresses, there is a chance that it will become undetectable, that is why we need to end its use as soon as possible.
Van Morrison was recently accused in forums of using autopen to sign CDs, although his management released a statement denying this. Sinead O’Connor, however, confessed to doing so with her signed memoir, without apology. In both of these cases, the challenged items were selling for less than $50, limiting the risk of an outcry.
“The books that are signed,” said O’Connor, “I signed using a signature stamp because I was unable to write my name ten thousand times, that’s the number we asked me to sign. My son was sick, as was I. So I stamped them myself. And it’s my signature, “she argued. Nevertheless, many retailers withdrew from sale O’Connor’s “autographed” books, which sold for around $30.
Autopen is commonly used by elected officials and executives, but its use in the celebrity world often leads to speculation and doubt in the world of signed collectibles. A video showing how commonly available machines work:
The ongoing controversy over Dylan’s use of autopen for items advertised as “personally hand-signed” has been amplified by the extent to which Simon & Schuster has gone to great lengths to attest to authenticity. signatures in advertising and correspondence, even sending the limited sum of $600. “Philosophie de la chanson moderne” edition delivered with a letter of authenticity signed by the publisher. Refund requests were initially denied as the publisher continued to attest to the authenticity of signatures, before admitting a ‘mistake’ had been made on November 20 and refunding all purchases for the week last.
If the publisher refunded the purchase price of the 900 books sold as hand-signed, that would amount to more than $500,000 in refunds given last week — not including a separate set of 90 autographed books that had been advertised as being at sale. in the UK The value of Dylan’s true signature was evident in listings on eBay which showed attempts to resell the supposedly autographed books for thousands of dollars each before autopen news cleared their value.
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