Sunday, November 2, 2008

The brilliant forger

I have spoken to different people about forgeries. Gallery staff tell me that collectors have tried to get certificates of authentication for forgeries (and failed). The boss says he trusts his eyes more than the certificates; my mentor believes that provenance and dates are tell-tale signs of a possible fake. Another artist had the same questions I had about paintings seemingly copied from another. Vigilance, dear art patron, is essential.

Peter Schjeldahl, in The New Yorker piece "Dutch Master: The Art Forger who became a national hero", writes about two books on Han van Meegeren, who forged works supposedly by Vermeer, among other Old Masters.
Art forgery is among the least despised of crimes, except by its victims—the identity of those victims being more than exculpatory, for many people. Art is unique among universally esteemed creative fields in its aloofness from a public audience. Its economic base is a club of the wealthy, who share power to impose or repress value with professional and academic √©lites.
[...]
The spectre of forgery chills the receptiveness—the will to believe—without which the experience of art cannot occur. Faith in authorship matters.
[via JessicaRulesTheUniverse]

I'm in Jakarta for an extended weekend. Yes, I owe my departed ancestors a visit and yes, I am on a quest to stay flat broke permanently.

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