French literature lecturer Diane Charney ties in Romain Gary's "Le Faux" (The Fake), a 20th century story by the WWII hero and novelist. Professor Charney, who has taught at Yale since 1984, describes this multi-layered intriguing story:
A shady, nouveau-riche Neapolitan collector, Baretta, who earned his fortune selling Italian salami, is in the news for having purchased, for a princely sum, what many believe to be a "fake Van Gogh." Seeking to burnish his image through buying expensive art, Baretta pays a visit to the renowned expert, S, who he hopes will authenticate, or at least not challenge, the authenticity of his Van Gogh. S is also a newcomer to Parisian grand society, who has come a long way from his poor Turkish roots. Despite their equally modest backgrounds, however, Baretta and S have very different approaches to the exchange value of art. Among the themes of this richly suspenseful story are an obsession with authenticity in art and in cultural origins, and the valorization of the aesthetic object.
"'Le Faux' can become a lens through which to review the 2010 ARCA conference," writes Charney. Her analysis includes presenters such as Betina Kuzmarov "Rethinking the Qianlong Bronze Heads: Objective versus Aesthetic Visions of Cultural Property"; Judge Arthur Tompkins on an International Art Crime Tribunal; Chris Marinello's "The Role of the Art Loss Register and its Efforts to Recover Stolen Art through the Legitimate Marketplace and the Underworld"; and Colette Marvin on "Curating Art Crime".