03 August 2013


On the issue of authenticity: There've been a number of high-profile cases of art fraud and forgery in the news and recent months, coinciding with the publishing of three new books on the topic of the latter. Charles Hope of the NYB provides a historical overview by way of his review of the three titles...
"It is often argued that art forgeries are eventually unmasked, because in time they reveal, through their style, the period in which they were made, rather than that in which they were purported to have been made. But while this is true of some forgeries, there is no reason to suppose that it is true of all of them. This is widely admitted in the case of the sculptures of the early-twentieth-century Italian forger Alceo Dossena, and it is likely that many of Hebborn’s fakes have yet to be identified. Against this background, the status of forgeries as works of art has been much discussed. One of their strangest features, as Lenain explains, is that they often seem to be works of art without a single identifiable author. As a consequence, what he calls the 'trace paradigm,' which seems so central to our experience of art, is decoupled from the work itself. Like Jonathon Keats, he argues that art forgeries can most readily be classed with various types of art produced over the past century, by Warhol and others, in which the notion of an original is deliberately undermined (for example, in Warhol’s case, by having multiple copies of silkscreen paintings made by printers)."
I remember reading the Eric Hebborn book (cited in the article) about 20 years ago, as it quickly became a remainder among art-book distributors. The Modigliani incident was one that I had previously never heard about; but I do recall the Alan Rudolph film The Moderns which came along a few years later, in which -- if memory serves -- a forged Modigliani served as a macguffin in the story.

{ Thanks to BLCKDGRD for the heads-up. }

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