The fingerprint, according to the findings of British fingerprint expert, has at least 14 identifiable characteristics. This is considered to be more than enough to determine conclusive proof of identity in a court of law.
Fingerprinting works of art was a technique that Picasso knew about and sometimes employed.
In 1914, the celebrated French criminologist, Alphonse Bertillon, proposed that famous artists fingerprint their work to prevent the fraud. Bertillon's article appeared in Le Matin under the title 'Bertillonage, on ne trouquera plus les d'oeuvres d'art.' According to the article, a number of famous artists, including Rodin, were said to have ascribed to the system. A cutting of this very article later appeared in Juan Gris' painting, 'Figure Seated In A Cafe'.
At this time Gris and Picasso had been in close communication, therefore it would seem probable that Picasso learned about fingerprinting at this time.
Jean Gluck, a former secretary of Picasso, who had responsible for cataloguing the artist's work, claimed in 1994, that a number of Picasso drawings had been signed with a fingerprint. John Richardson however, has stated adamantly that Picasso never signed this way. Richardson, like other historians who enjoy a close relationship with the Picasso administration, dismisses the fingerprint as evidence altogether. The question remains, is it or is it not Picasso's fingerprint in the drawing ?
We are appealing for further information and offering a $1000 reward for a conclusive identification of the fingerprint in the drawing. We would particularly like to gain access to ceramics collections, if you can help, please let us know.