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Forrest Clemenger Bess

 (1911 - 1977)
Forrest Clemenger Bess was active/lived in Texas.  Forrest Bess is known for modernist-non objective dream imagery, landscape and coastal scene painting.

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Artist Bulletins for Forrest Clemenger Bess

4 archived bulletin(s) below.    (Note:  Bulletins are no longer updatable as of 2015.)

daughter of the doctor
Kathy Jackson (11/27/2011)
I am the daughter of the doctor reportedly mentioned who treated Forrest when he attempted to do his own sex change surgery. We have beautiful landscape painting of the coast that was bartered for medical services. Please respond for more information. It has soot damage from a fire and an attempt, I have to say was mine, to add paint to bring back color. It could probably be taken off by an expert. I was stupid and young and believe it or not, my mother let me do it. Even though it is flawed, it is owned by the doctor in his unusual story. kathy Jackson

Forrest Bess
Fred R. Kline (03/30/2004)
I was the appraiser who in 1994 first questioned the authenticity of the "Forrest Bess" paintings in the Estate of Leonard J. Quinlin, paintings which Quinlin had bequeathed to the Matagorda County Museum. (I am also an art historian and an art dealer, now with 25 years experience). I suggested to the museum that, in my professional opinion, the Bess paintings were in all likelihood the work of an art forger in San Antonio from whom Quinlin had either knowingly commissioned work or innocently purchased work. I lost a $10,000 appraisal fee and travel expenses due from Matagorda County Museum because of my position. The Bess forgeries in the Quinlin Collection represented only one part of a collection that was filled with art forgeries which I went to a great deal of trouble to investigate, going so far as to find the person whom I believed to be the forger. The attorney for the Quinlin Estate chose not to pursue the culprit even after I took her to his studio gallery where other obvious forgeries were for sale. In my opinion, the other counterfeit works in the collection included paintings by Julian Onderdonk, Dawson Dawson-Watson, Peter Hohnstedt, and even Georgia O'Keeffe. I suggested that the forgeries in the Quinlin Collection be destroyed, but they were not. Since that time I have seen a number of these same forgeries in galleries and collections all over Texas; however, their quality is third-rate and with some connoisseurship easily detected. Quinlin, as I knew him (and his collection), was no connoisseur, although he thought he was and he operated under the delusion that his eye was sharper than specialists in a given field, especially paintings. It is really a shame that the Matagorda County Museum did not try harder to determine the authenticity of the collection they are selling. Possibly a good thing to come out of this will be a more widespread connoisseurship that will recognize the eccentric genius and rare quality of the paintings of Forrest Bess, a great American visionary artist.

Forrest Bess
Kirk Hopper (03/12/2004)
Regarding the auction of fake Forrest Bess Paintings at the Matagorda County Museum. I have examined the art work in question and found that a majority are bad forgeries. Some of the paintings have had the original artist signature scratch out and the name Forrest Bess written in. The paintings should not be sold be destroyed. The museum is harming the reputation of a great artist.

Sarah Higgins (03/11/2004)
The Matagorda County Museum in Bay City, Texas acquired 90 alleged Bess paintings from collector Leonard Quinlan in 1994. During the acquisition, it was discovered that Quinlan had known connections to forgeries and forgerers, and the entire collection was deemed questionable. For ten years they have been in the museum vault. On April 1, they will be hung together one final time, and on May 18th, they will go on auction. The story appeared on the front page of the L.A. Times (2/26/04), on "Top Stories" on Yahoo News, and in several other publications. For more information and/or a gallery guide, please call the museum at 979-245-7502 or email me at the address given.

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