Noah Charney writes on the "Appendix on Forensics of Forgery Investigation" in the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime. The text was used as wall copy in the exhibition "Faux Real," on the career of art forger Mark Landis, held at the museum of the University of Cincinnati, which opened 1, 20012, and is curated by Aaron Cowan. This text is a preview of Charney's forthcoming book, The Book of Forgery, to be published by Phaidon in 2013.
The world of forensics is both fascinating and potentially confusing to non-scientists. Since Martin de Wiild first used forensic examination to authenticate van Gogh paintings in the first decades of the 20th century, science has been one of the key means of distinguishing fakes from originals in the art world. The complexity of the science employed by conservators and specialists means that non-scientists are confronted with processes and terms about which they know very little. While a true understanding of these techniques and terms requires intensive study, the following glossary offers a quick-reference for those who would like to know more about the forensic techniques used in the study of art.
Glossary terms include Dendrochronology; Ultraviolet light; X-radiography; Infrared Radiation; Ultraviolet Fluorescence & Polarized Light Microscopy; Scanning Electron Microscope; Energy Dispersive X-ray; X-ray Diffraction; Raman Microscopy; Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy; Chromatography & Mass Spectrometer; High Performance Liquid Chromatography; Radiocarbon Dating; X-ray Fluorescence Analysis; and Fingerprint & DNA Analysis.
Noah Charney is the Founder and President of ARCA and the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Art Crime. Recently a Visiting Lecturer at Yale University, he currently is a professor at the American University of Rome and Brown University. He is the editor of ARCA’s first book, Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Praeger 2009) and The Thefts of the Mona Lisa: On Stealing the World’s Most Famous Painting (ARCA Press 2011).