Showing posts with label Colette Marvin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colette Marvin. Show all posts

April 1, 2014

Colette Loll's "Intent to Deceive: Fake and Forgeries in the Art World" on display at Springfield Museums until April 27

Han van Meegeren, Portrait of
a Lady
, Yale University Art Gallery
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor

Colette Loll, who attended ARCA's 2009 Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection in Amelia, is the curator of "Intent to Deceive: Fakes and Forgeries in the Art World", an independent exhibit currently on display at the Michele & Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield, MA.

The exhibit looks at the forgery careers of Han van Meegeren (1889-1947), Elmyr de Hory, Eric Hebborn, John Myatt, and Mark Landis.

The "Gallery" section of the website for "Intent to Deceive" includes four works by van Meegeren: Girl with the Blue Bow, in the style of Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, 1632-1675), ca. 1924, gelatin-glue medium and pigment over obscured 17th century painting fragment, courtesy of The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, New York; Portrait of a Lady, 20th century, oil on canvas, courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery, Mabel Brady Garvan Fund; Head of Christ, in the style of Vermeer, 1940-41, oil on canvas, courtesy of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; and The Procuress (after Baburen), in the style of Dirck van Baburen (Dutch, c. 1595 -1624), 1940, oil on canvas, courtesy of The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London.

In an interview with Patricia Cohen's Dec. 31, 2013 article "So Valuable, It Could Almost Be Real" in The New York Times, Ms. Loll explained:
What links these men, said Colette Loll, the exhibition’s curator and an art investigator, are “frustrated artistic ambitions, chaotic personal lives and a contempt for the art market and its experts.” Ms. Loll, who organized the exhibition with the nonprofit group International Arts & Artists, said she was shocked when she heard the $31,000 estimate for the security arrangements demanded by just the Boijmans. That sum is close to the $39,500 that “Christ and the Scribes in the Temple” — the painting van Meegeren created in 1945 to prove he was a forger rather than a collaborator — fetched at Christie’s auction house in 1996.
Jonathan Keats, author of Forged: Why Fakes Are The Great Art of Our Time (Oxford University Press, 2013) -- reviewed in The Journal of Art Crime in the Spring 2013 issue -- wrote about the exhibit on March 27th for Forbes in "At This Massachusetts Art Museum, Some Forgeries Are Faker Than Others (But Better Not Trust Your Eyes)":
An important exhibition of art forgeries curated by Colette Loll, currently at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, naturally provokes this question. Intent to Deceive includes the forgeries of some of these great fakers together with works painted as their own. Comparisons are revealing. 
As a matter of visual impact, both categories are approximately equivalent. De Hory’s Picassos and Myatt’s Monets remain aesthetically consistent before and after these men confessed. Creative permutations on the artists’ signature style, the paintings serve the beneficial role – as I argued in my book Forged – of posthumously increasing Picasso and Monet’s output. (Perhaps Picasso didn’t need it.) 
On the other hand, there is a profound conceptual difference between paintings made before and after the forgers confessed. The fraudulent fakes of these forgers were remarkably subversive, exploiting the unjustified assumptions of the society in which they were operating (such as the infallibility of institutional authority). When the forgeries were discovered to be fake, those unjustified assumptions were called into question. The most important function of art in our time – as a psychological and social provocation – was spectacularly served by these counterfeits. Lacking the context of fraudulence, the later works of Myatt, Hebborn and de Hory are conceptually flat. 
But never trust a master faker. Though John Myatt appears to have gone completely straight, Eric Hebborn managed to confound the art world even more totally after he started selling Hebborns in the ’80s, because they advertised his consummate skill as rumors arose that he was still faking. And de Hory? Don’t believe the bit about his aristocratic heritage. His true life story is still getting sorted out, and there are rumors that a factory in China has been faking signed Elmyrs.
Here's a link to a post about the Kickstarter campaign on the documentary "Art and Craft" featuring the work of Mark Landis.

January 7, 2014

indiegogo campaign to raise funds for Elmyr de Hory documentary includes appearances by 2009 ARCA students

Elmyr de Hory (indiegogo campaign)
Yesterday's email newsletter for the Art Fix Daily ("curated art world news and exclusives") highlighted  the "Documentary Planned on the Life, Art & Lies of Elmyr de Hory" in production with filmmaker Jeff Oppenheim ("Funny Valentine" and "A Passion for Giving") who created an indiegogo campaign last month.

Artfix.Daily reports that the film is expected to be released this summer:
Following the lead of a professional art crime investigator, the producers examine Elmyr’s past, cut through a myriad of aliases, searching for never-before-revealed archival records, police files, and the circumstances contributing to his illicit career.  The team works to unravel the mystery of Elmyr’s true identity, extent of his criminal activity, personal motivations, and unusual and extraordinary talent.  The film also relies in part on the recollections of people who knew Elmyr, including the man who lived with Elmyr for the last ten years of his life and up until the artist’s suicide in 1976.  Footage also includes an interview with Elmyr’s lawyer and long-time friend who stands firm in his conviction that Elmyr would never have gone to jail for his crimes.  Ultimately the film raises the bar with new research that suggests that the number of Elmyr’s fakes might substantially exceed the number previously estimated. 
The documentary also weaves a grander contemporary moralistic narrative. “In part, Real Fake examines the issues of art forgery and the current run-away art market,” says Oppenheim. “However, it also offers us the opportunity to explore the grander themes of what is art, what is the value of art and for that matter how these perceptions enter our own lives outside of the art world on a daily basis.”
The 3-minute Vimeo video part of the fundraising campaign to raise $25,000 by February 3 at "Real Fake -- The Life, Art & Crimes of Elmyr de Hory" includes appearances by Allen Olsen Urtecho, art crime investigator, and Colette (Loll) Marvin, curator -- both of whom attended ARCA's program in art crime studies and cultural heritage preservation in Amelia in 2009.

Colette Loll Marvin spoke in Budapest in 2010 on "Curating Art Crime".

Jonathan Keats wrote about de Hory in his book Forged: Why Fakes Are the Great Art of Our Age (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Elmyr de Hory's executor, Mark Forgy, successfully funded a play on the forger on Kickstarter last year (see an earlier ARCA blog post here).

UPDATE: Both Colette Loll and Mark Forgy contacted the ARCA blog after publication of this post and the Artfix.daily. Both Colette Loll and Mark Forgy informed ARCA that they are no longer associated with this documentary film project.

September 14, 2011

"Fakes, Forgeries and the Art of Deception": A Lecture at the Smithsonian by Colette Loll Marvin

Independent curator and researcher Colette Loll Marvin is lecturing on "Fakes, Forgeries and the Art of Deception" at the Smithsonian on Wednesday, September 21.

Ms. Marvin was a student in the first 2009 class of ARCA's Postgraduate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Protection Studies.

Colette Loll Marvin, Paris
You may find out more information about this program at this link, including how to order tickets.

ARCA program attendees or alumni may contact Colette Marvin at for courtesy tickets.

December 8, 2010

Budapest Firm Tondo Examines Paintings Scientifically

Zsófia Végvári, Tondo, Inc.'s Chief Executive Officer holding a painting attributed to Picasso

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

On her trip to Budapest earlier this month, ARCA’s Director of Public and Institutional Relations, Colette Loll Marvin, toured the facility of Tondo, Inc., a firm specializing in complex painting analysis that contributes to attributions and forgery research. Tondo’s Chief Executive Officer Zsófia Végvári led Marvin through a series of complex tests used to determine the authenticity of a suspected Picasso painting recently discovered by a buyer in the Middle East. The testing can tell the age of the inorganic components, which will be used, along with the judgements of art historians, to make a determination of the authenticity, Végvári told Marvin.

Végvári founded Tondo in 1998. For the past 10 years, Tondo has provided services to cultural institutions and art collectors with an arsenal of mobile, high-tech equipment for analyzing art works. The Complex Painting Analysis Method (CPAM) combined five techniques to help authenticate paintings.

“So far art historians have used only subjective methods to define oil paintings,” said Végvári in a follow-up email. “By using the CPAM methods we offer objective applications instead of these subjective methods. On the auction market, pictures by famous painters change owners for a high price. These highly valuable paintings have been investigated with objective technologies such as X-ray, XRF, and luminescence examinations in a few cases only. However, most of the results do not increase the credibility of the auction market, but facilitate the restoration phase. After investigating the hidden layer and the metal-content of the painting, we can tell whether or not it was repainted in the past. The CPAM offers so- called 'genetic fingerprint' conditions of paintings based on physical and chemical investigations.”

According to Tondo, the technologies used in the Complex Painting Analysis Method: multispectral photography; X-Ray; microscopy; X-ray Fluorescence - Spectroscopy (XRF) examination; and a 3D white light scanner.

With multispectral photography, Tondo uses a normal light at an angle to the painting to examine brush strokes, crackling, and the artist’s signature, Végvári explained. An infrared light can reveal the underdrawing in a painting, she said. “Some pigments, such as lead white or artificial ultramarine, become transparent on infrared shoot,” Végvári explained. "It is clearly seen where different pigments were used."

Ultraviolet light can detect later restorations that appear darker than the aged original varnish layers. “It’s possible to identify any retouchings on top of an aged varnish, since oil paint and newer varnish do not fluoresce under ultraviolet light,” Végvári explained.

“A low radiation x-ray is one of the most important part of our investigation methods,” Végvári said. “X-ray can give information about an artist’s painting techniques, pigments, and under-paintings. The x-ray technique primarily records the structural elements of a painting as it shows the pigment characterizations. An x-ray can also reveal a painting hidden underneath the visible painting.”

According to Végvári, microscopy can give an amazing amount of information about a painting’s structure, based on cross sectional analysis or pigment sampling. In an invasive technology, a sample is cut from the canvas of 1-2 millimeters to show the layers of paint colors and varnish. The cross sectional analysis presents information about the repainted areas and colors as the chronology of the artist’s working methods, including restoration work. Inside of the layers most of the grains of the pigments can be identified. The pigments sampling helps to identify the age of the paint layer based on the size, characterisation, and the components of the pigment grains.

An X-ray Fluorescence - Spectroscopy (XRF) examination can identify most of the pigments used in paint, Végvári explained, and can be compared to known materials and palettes used during certain historical periods and geographical areas. The XRF spectroscopy can date objects and can reveal forged works when the chemical compounds of the paints do not match the alleged date of the artwork. For example, Végvári said, titanium white would not be in a painting in 1912. Titanium white was not available as an artist's pigment until 1924.

"The combination of XRF and microscopy allows 'diagnosing' an artists’ palette," Végvári said. "It is extremely important to make special database about colors used by each artist."

The three-dimensional surface of the artworks can be recorded with the accuracy of microns with a 3D white light scanner manufactured by Breuckmann GMBH in Germany. With this investigation method, according to Végvári, the condition of the paintings, and the distortion of the support or the brushstrokes can be examined in 3D digital data. "This technology also offers a special 3D fingerprint of the artworks," Végvári said. "It is a special 'mark' for the painting while the status of the surface is captured. The 3D information cannot be forged; so the artwork can be identified over time."

November 23, 2010

ARCA's Colette Loll Marvin Lectures on "Curating Art Crime" in Budapest

By Catherine Schofield Sezgin

Last weekend ARCA's Director of Public and Institutional Relations, Colette Loll Marvin, lectured on "Curating Crime" to a group of students in the Arts Management program at the International Business School of Budapest.

Ms. Marvin spoke about several recent museum exhibitions dedicated to the subject of art crime, specifically forgery. Marvin has been conducting research for a documentary on the famed Hungarian forger Elmyr de Hory (1906-1976) who was arguably the most prolific forger of the twentieth century.

De Hory operated primarily in Europe and the United States for three decades and is alleged to have circulated hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of paintings into the art market, according to Marvin. Unable to find success in selling his own original works, Marvin said, De Hory turned his talents and Beaux Arts training towards the crafting of fake paintings in the style of Modigliani, Picasso, Matisse, Dufy, Vlamink and other Impressionist and Modernist masters.

“Fakes and forgeries were once the dirty little secret of the art world,” Marvin said. “No gallery, museum or auction house is entirely free from the embarrassment of a costly error of misattribution or faulty provenance. Duped museums can feel slightly vindicated, however, as there is a growing public fascination in these costly mistakes, as witnessed by the record crowds visiting exhibits dedicated to fakes, mistakes and misattributions.”

The latest exhibit, "Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries" opened this weekend at the Detroit Institute of Arts in Detroit and examines 58 artworks from paintings to decorative arts in the museum's collection whose artist attribution and authenticity have changed since being donated or purchased by the institution.

Professor Jeff Taylor, an American art historian currently completing the doctoral program at Central European University on the subject of the historical evolution of the Hungarian art market, invited Marvin to speak to the class after being asked to serve as a Humanities advisor to her film project.

"Colette's presentation served as the ideal exclamation point to this section of the semester which had been focusing on the problems of the art market, particularly fakes, plunder, and restitution,” Taylor said. “I think the students got a full appreciation for how much these issues are being widely discussed, both in the many recent exhibitions which were shown, but also in terms of Colette's documentary project on Elmyr de Hory, and that seemed to generate a lot of interest among them in the ARCA Postgraduate program."

The Arts Management program at the International Business School of Budapest is a recently added program and boasts a curriculum designed to produce students that are well versed in the business aspects of the art market.

Ms. Marvin also gave a presentation to the undergraduate class about ARCA's Postgraduate Certificate in International Art Crime Studies.

ARCA’s courses include “Art Crime and Its History” by Noah Charney, founding director of ARCA; “Art in War” by Judge Arthur Tompkins of New Zealand; “Art Policing and Investigation” by Richard Ellis, former director of Scotland Yard Arts and Antiques Unit; and “Museums, Security, and Art Protection” taught in 2010 by Anthony Amore, Security Director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

ARCA’s Postgraduate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies has taken place in Italy in the medieval town of Amelia in Umbria from June through August for the past two years and is accepting applications through January 3 for the 2011 program.

In addition, ARCA’s third annual International Art Crime Conference is scheduled for July 9th and 10 next summer in Amelia. Papers for the conference will be accepted in the spring.

Art Crime in Hungary

On November 5 1983, thieves robbed the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest and stole paintings by Raphael (Esterhazy Madonna and Portrait of a Young Man); Giorgione (Self-portrait), Tintoretto (Portrait of a Gentleman and Portrait of a Gentlewoman), and Tiepolo (Madonna and the Saints and Rest on the Flight into Egypt). All of the works, including Raphael’s Esterhazy Madonna, also known as Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist, were recovered two months later by the Italian Carabinieri in an abandoned Greek Monastery near Aigio in northeast Greece. Operation Budapest was a joint investigation between the Italian Carabinieri, the Hungarian police, and the Greek Police.

The Old Gallery of the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest has a collection of 3,000 Old Master Paintings from the 13th to the 18th centuries, with more than 700 acquired from the Esterhazy estate, a noble family of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Inadequate physical maintenance may have made the museum vulnerable to thieves. A visitor to the Budapest museum in the 1980s described the 1906 building housing the collection as “in a sorry state” with “various roofs leaking and many of its masterpieces draped in sheets of polythene to protect them when rain fell.” The museum had been bombed in World War II and the construction of an underground railway may have damaged the building’s structure.

According to the Commission for Art Recovery, about 20 percent of all Western art in Europe was looted during the war. During World War II, the Hungarian government, a Nazi ally, confiscated art owned by Jews. The Hungarian government participated in the 1998 Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets and agreed to work to identify Nazi-era looted art and opening museum archives for provenance research. However, the Jewish Claims Conference and World Jewish Restitution Organization claims that Hungary has disregarded the principles and not returned art looted from Holocaust victims.

The family of Baron Mar Lipot Herzog, a wealthy patron of the arts, who lived in Budapest and died in 1934, has sought restitution from Hungary with no success, according to a recent article by Judy Dempsey in the New York Times.

Hungary to Sell Communist Relics today published an article by Pablo Gorondi of the Associated Press about an upcoming auction in Budapest of the sale of 230 communist-era relics, including a life-size bust of former Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin.

June 3, 2010

ARCA's Colette Marvin at the Scene of the Crime at musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris

Recently, ARCA's Colette Marvin, Director of Public and Institutional Relations, visited the scene of the crime while on business in Paris. Colette spent the past fall and winter organizing and curating a special exhibit on art crime at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. Currently, she is engaged in a documentary project focused on the career of the infamous forger, Elmyr de Hory.

March 10, 2010