Showing posts with label authenticity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label authenticity. Show all posts

October 7, 2014

ARCA’s network assists in getting two fake de Hory forgeries withdrawn from sale

By Arthur Tompkins, ARCA Trustee and Lecturer

On Saturday 4 October 2015 an article appeared in the online edition of The New Zealand Herald, a national newspaper in New Zealand, about two forgeries by the well-known forger Elmyr de Hory, coming up for public auction. 

The article ran under images of one of the forgeries alongside a genuine Monet:


The article said:

Two "Monet" paintings by a legendary art forger have surfaced at an Auckland auction. ... While Monet originals fetch millions, the two fakes will have reserves of only $1000 each when they go under the hammer at Cordy's auction house on Tuesday.
"They are colourful and nice paintings, but you don't look at them and think, 'Boy, that's an amazing masterpiece'," said auctioneer Andrew Grigg.
"They don't look like a real Monet - the detail, the quality of the originals would be just absolutely amazing."

The article described how the two paintings were said to have been purchased from de Hory by one Ken Talbot:

Retired London bookmaker Ken Talbot, ... owned more than 400 de Hory works that adorned every wall of his plush Regents Park townhouse.
Now, an Auckland descendent who inherited two items from him is selling two "Claude Monet" paintings.

A member of the ARCA family, Penny Jackson, Director of the Tauranga Art Gallery here in New Zealand, first spotted the article.  The link to the article then went to curator and art fraud specialist Colette Loll who attended courses at the inaugural ARCA Postgraduate program in 2009, and is the founder and director of Art Fraud Insights (http://www.artfraudinsights.com.

Mark Forgy is de Hory’s heir and author of 'TheForger’s Apprentice: Life with the World’s Most Notorious Artist’ (2012), a memoir of his life with de Hory up until de Hory’s untimely death in 1976. Colette Loll and Mark Forgy have collaborated significantly on several projects including a book, documentary film and Colette’s exhibition, ‘Intent to Deceive’ (www.intenttodeceive.org), for which Mark was a major lender.

Ms. Loll immediately sent the article on to Mr. Forgy.

Closing the circle, Mark Forgy then emailed the auctioneers, Cordy’s in Auckland, New Zealand.  He said to them:

“Please be aware that Talbot himself was a con man who established a robust cottage industry of fabricating phony works by de Hory. I write about Talbot in my book ‘The Forger's Apprentice : Life with the World's Most Notorious Artist’. I was de Hory's friend, personal assistant and am his sole legal heir. I authenticate his works. I assure you that the painting you intend to auction in the manner of Claude Monet is NOT by de Hory.  I have added this bogus de Hory to scores of others I've harvested from online auction sites.

Mark later commented:

When I said that Talbot started a cottage industry of fabricating phony works by Elmyr, he wasn't the painter of them. Talbot had others do the fake Elmyrs. I suspect they came from some Asian source, but I can't be certain.

The next day, on the morning of the auction, Tuesday 7 October, news came through that Cordy’s had commendably and immediately withdrawn the two paintings from sale.  Under the headline ‘Auction House Pulls Paintings When Told Forgeries Faked’, Mark Forgy is quoted in the follow-up article in the New Zealand Herald:

"Talbot fabricated an oft-told story that he acquired hundreds of works by Elmyr in exchange for unpaid loans. All this is just nonsense," Forgy said yesterday. Forgy now monitors online auction sites for fake de Hory works and has added the latest pair to the collection.
He said the irony of the famous faker himself being copied "is never lost on me".
"The subject of others forging his works came up only one time. We both contemplated that for a moment and then laughed at the far-fetched notion," he said.
Auctioneer Andrew Grigg confirmed their withdrawal from today's antique and art sale.
"Of course it is never our intention to deceive and we were not aware that the faker's works were faked," he said.

So, within a few short days of the initial article being published online, ARCA's network was instrumental in helping to ensure that these forgeries of de Hory’s forgeries of two "Monets" were not wrongly sold to an unsuspecting buyer who might have purchased them because they were, as it initially seemed, ‘genuine’ forgeries. 

Mark Forgy, reflecting on how this all unfolded, comments:

I think the issue of "fake fakes" merits attention in that it speaks to the deeply flawed art market. It brings art fraud to another level of criminal inventiveness. More alarmingly, we see a marketplace that incentivizes such activity for the lack of regulation of the art trade. The loopholes in the safety net (if one exists) are welcoming portals for anyone intent on committing larceny. One inescapable irony is that art never seems to gather as much attention as when its authenticity is questioned, and through this examination process these fraudsters hold up a mirror, showing us who we are as a society, our values, and how we view art. So, in an unintended way, they become our social conscience. No, there's no lack of irony here.


Ironies all round indeed ...

July 11, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014 - , No comments

Caravaggio to be interned in memorial park on July 18 in Tuscany; however, do the remains found four years ago belong to the artist?

Caravaggio's Medusa (oil on wood covered
with  canvas) at the Uffizi at least since 1631
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor

Chiara Longo and Gareth Harris report for The Art Newspaper in "Caravaggio to be buried in Tuscan Memorial Park" that the reputed remains of the 16th century artist found in a church four years ago will be interned on his birthday (July 18) at the cost of €65,000:
Caravaggio's remains will be housed under a monumental arch created by the sculptor Giuseppe Conte, which will be topped with a ceramic basket of fruits inspired by Caravaggio's famous still-lifes. The park will also include colourful and fragrant Mediterranean plants such as jasmine, lavender and rosemary.
Here's a link to information about Caravaggio the artist. And here in 2010 is an article ("Unearthing doubts about Caravaggio's remains") by Elizabetta Provoledo in The New York Times which discusses the authenticity of the claim.

June 20, 2014

ARCA '14 Conference, Panel IV: The Genuine Article: Fakes and Forgeries and the Art of Deception

On Saturday June 28 in Amelia, these presenters will make up the panel on fakes and forgeries at ARCA's Sixth Annual Interdisciplinary Art Crime Conference:

Would the real Mr. Goldie please stand up?
Penelope Jackson M. Phil, University of Queensland, MA University of Auckland
Director, Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga, New Zealand

Forgery and Offenses Resembling Forgery
Susan Douglas, PhD Concordia University
Lecturer (Assistant Professor) Contemporary Art and Theory, University of Guelph

In the Red Corner: “Connoisseurship and Art History”, and the Blue Corner: “Scientific Testing and Analysis” – Who’s right in determining Authenticity?
Toby Bull, Senior Inspector of Police, Hong Kong Police Force
Founder, TrackArt (Art Risk Consultancy), Hong Kong

May 10, 2014

A Report on the second day (and conclusion) of Authentication in Art at The Hague

Presentation on discovery of a new van Gogh painting
by Virginia M. Curry

The second session of the Authentication in Art Congress at The Hague presented a tour de force of scions defining the new intersections of science, art history and the law.

Dr. Ella Hendricks (Senior Paintings Conservator, Van Gogh Museum) and Muriel Geldof (Conservation Scientist, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands) in ‘Evaluating technical and analytical studies of Van Gogh’s paintings in support of attribution 'contemplated the  role of art-technological studies in the process of attributing and authenticating paintings by Vincent van Gogh in terms of consistency of the materials and techniques used, also leading to improved connoisseurship by informing and therefore refining our perception of the artist’s changing styles and techniques' (program).

In ‘Van Gogh and his oeuvre: the attribution process evaluated’ Dr. Tilborough (Senior Researcher, Van Gogh Museum) and  Teio Meedendorp (Researcher, Van Gogh Museum) emphasized that both transparency and access are key to their research.  This philosophy of transparency in research recently permitted Dr. van Tilborough and his team to discover and authenticate a new van Gogh painting, “Sunset at Montmajour”. The team compared “Sunset” to  van Gogh’s “The Rocks” from the Fine Arts Museum in Houston, and they were able to discern that the paintings were completed within two weeks of each other.

Dr. Ellen Landau discussed Pollock's "Mural" 
“We carried out art historical research into the style, depiction, use of materials and context, and found that everything indicated that the work is by van Gogh," according to Dr. Tilborough. " We were able to track the provenance to Theo’s collection in 1890 and it was sold  in 1901.  Letters from the artist refer to this painting."

Many thanks to Dr. Ellen Landau (Professor  emeritus of Art History, Case Western Reserve University) for her presentation, “Conservation as a Connoisseurship Tool: Jackson Pollock’s 1943 Mural for Peggy Guggenheim, A Case Study” which highlighted the joint analysis of Pollock’s 1943 painting “Mural” recently undertaken by the Getty.  The analysis debunked many misconceptions concerning the manner in which Pollock worked, and converted me thereby, to a deeper understanding and appreciation of his art.

Professor Robyn Slogget (Director, Center for Cultural Materials Conservation, University of Melbourne) and her associate, paintings conservator Vanessa Kowalski, highlighted several case studies involving the forgery of aborigine art and the pitfalls eventually overcome to develop a protocol of examination and non-invasive analysis -- assisting in successfully prosecuting a case of forgery of aborigine art in Melbourne.

PhD Student Elke Cwiertnia (Northumbria University, Newcastle) in ‘Examining artworks attributed to Francis Bacon (1909-1992) to aid authentication’ presented the methodology of examination and preservation employed by the Francis Bacon research project in their efforts to publish a catalogue raisonné of Bacon's work.

Panel chaired by Lawrence Shindell
The lively panel discussion led by art law attorney Lawrence Shindell examined the impact of current authenticity issues on the art market. The expertise of the responding panel drew on multiple perspectives ranging from those of the legal and academic communities to market economics.  The panel included Dr. Friederike Grafin von Bruhl, William Charron, Randall Willette, Dr. Jeroen Euwe and D. Anna Dempster.

Following the panel discussion, the congress group traveled for an exclusive view of the exhibition "Mondrian and Cubism, Paris 1912-1914” (in partnership with MOMA) at an opening hosted by the Mayor of The Hague, Jozias van Aartsen, and presentation by Hans Janssen, curator at large for modern art.

Ms. Curry is a retired FBI agent, a licensed private investigator, and an art historian.

August 1, 2013

Thierry Lenain on "The Question of the Value of Doubles in Autographic Arts" (The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2013)

In the Spring 2013 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, art theorist Thierry Lenain writes on "The question of the Value of Doubles in Autographic Arts".
This essay seeks to analyze the concept of the artistic value of copies, taking into account the comments of Renaissance, Early Modern, and Modern thinkers and artists, from Vasari to Friedlander. The essay is more philosophical/theoretical, rather than criminological, dealing with ideas rather than case studies. In the course of the essay, the reader is introduced to factions who praise skillful copies and others who dismiss any copy, no matter how skillful, out of hand as inherently worthless and bad. This overview shows the extent to which the treatment of the question of the double in painting has varied over time.
Thierry Lenain is a professor of art theory at Université Libre de Bruxelles. His latest book is Art Forgery: the History of a Modern Obsession.

The ninth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, edited by Noah Charney and published by ARCA, is available electronically (pdf) and in print via subscription and Amazon.com. The Associate Editor is Marc Balcells (ARCA '11), Graduate Teaching Fellow, Department of Political Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- The City University of New York.

July 6, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Spring/Summer 2012: Thierry Lenain on "The Forger's Point of View"

Thierry Lenain writes about the psychology of a forger in "The Forger's Point of View" in the Spring/Summer 2012 electronic issue of The Journal of Art Crime (now available with a subscription).
Abstract: Adopting an interpretative perspective aiming to shed light on the forger’s point of view – the ideas he has of the art, of its history and of his own practice – implies an initial paradox. By definition, the forger would not attribute his productions to any other but himself without concealing his own artistic subjectivity. This is why only failure on the forger’s part or a discovery of the fake can lead to an understanding of his point of view. Under this condition, two pathways open up to the hermeneutic inquiry. It can first be based on the examination of the works themselves. The stylistic distortions and, more importantly, the way of combining the iconographic borrowings betray the imaginary of the forger, working with the intention of deceiving. Their study most often shows a figurative spirit torn between literal imitation and the paradoxical desire to invent what the imitated artists could have created. But beyond that, the words and writings of the forgers also call for interpretation. Whether it means, for them, to revive the destabilizing power of their practice or, in contrast, to legitimize it, their discourse assumes a “theory” of the history of art that inscribes itself as well in the realm of tension and paradox. We see them, indeed, dismiss the historicist reason while at the same time relying on it. On the one hand, they rely upon an aesthetic of the expressive trace according to which all original work translates the spirit of its author as a historically placed subject. On the other, they like to imagine that the spirit of the imitated masters comes to visit them across time (spiritualism), unless they refer to eternal laws of art (idealism), whose notion leaves no room to the difference between the fake and the authentic.
Thierry Lenain is a professor of art theory at Université Libre de Bruxelles. His latest book is Art Forgery: the History of a Modern Obsession.