Showing posts with label forgery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forgery. Show all posts

June 24, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - ,, No comments

Noah Charney's book "The Art of Forgery" discussed on NPR's "Fresh Air" with Dave Davies

Here's a link to NPR's Fresh Air program on ARCA Founder Noah Charney's recently published book "The Art of Forgery":
Michelangelo is known for masterpieces like the Sistine Chapel and the statue of David, but most people probably don't know that he actually got his start in forgery. The great artist began his career as a forger of ancient Roman sculptures, art scholar Noah Charney tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. 
By the time Michelangelo's forgery was revealed, the Renaissance master was famous in his own right. But many other artistic forgers continue to copy the work of past artists in the hopes of passing their creations off as authentic. 
The art industry, says Charney, is a "multibillion-dollar-a-year legitimate industry that is so opaque you can't quite understand why anyone participates in it." In his new book, The Art of Forgery, Charney traces a tradition of fakes and forgeries that dates back to the Renaissance. 
In many instances, forgery is a question of economics; a forgery that is authenticated may be worth millions of dollars. But Charney says that many other art forgers are doing it as a "sort of passive aggressive revenge" against an art world that was not interested in their original work — but was too dim to tell forgeries from true masterpieces. 
Charney adds that the business practices of the art world provide a "fertile ground" for criminals: "You do not necessarily know who the seller is when you're buying a work of art. You might have to send cash to anonymous Swiss bank account. You may or may not get certificates of authenticity or any paperwork attributing to the authentic nature of the work in question. You may not be certain the seller actually owns the work. You might have gentlemen's agreements and handshakes rather than contracts — and this is normal in the legitimate art world."

October 16, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2012: "Planning Revenge: Art Crime and Charles Frederick Goldie" by Penelope Jackson

In the Fall 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, Penelope Jackson writes about "Planning Revenge: Art Crime and Charles Frederick Goldie":
Charles Frederick Goldie is one of New Zealand's best-loved artists.  His portraits of Maori have been the victims of theft, vandalism, and forgery for decades.  Goldie's portraits remain highly prized and valuable.  This article highlights and gives an overview of the art crime that Goldie's oeuvre attracts, and offers some explanations behind what has become a catalogue of illegal practice.
Penelope Jackson is the Director of the Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga, New Zealand.  She holds an M. Phil (University of Queensland) in Art History and an MA (Hons) in Art History (University of Auckland).  The author of Edward Bullmore: A Surrealist Odyssey (2008) and The Brown Years: Nigel Brown (2009), she has contributed to The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography and journals including Art New Zealand, Art Monthly Australia, Studies in Travel Writing and Katherine Mansfield Studies.

You may read this article by subscribing to The Journal of Art Crime through the ARCA website.

July 13, 2012

"Appendix on Forensics of Forgery Investigation" in the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

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).

August 22, 2011

The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2011: John Daab on "The Case of the Questionable Jeffersonian Lafites: Forensic Applications in Detecting Wine Fraud"

In the fifth issue of The Journal of Art Crime (Spring 2011), John Daab, a Certified Fraud Examiner specializing in art and forgery research, has written on "The Case of the Questionable Jeffersonian Lafites: Forensic Applications in Detecting Wine Fraud". Mr. Daab writes in the article’s abstract:
Keys noted that the earliest manufacture of wine took place around 8000 BC. Robinson (2006) said that Pliny the Elder remarked that wine adulteration had reached a point in 1st century Rome that wine was no longer worth drinking. Although the tinkering with the grape has been with us since early Rome, wine fraud cases have seen an upsurge due to increases in demand not only for wine for the family table wine, but for historic collectibles found in the cellars of the wine connoisseur (Robinson, 2006). Wine fakers cost consumers, suppliers, and collectible connoisseurs millions of dollars a year. They use humidification; blending and stretching; substitution of low quality for expensive quality; and many other forms of fakery. This fakery is not only costly to the consumer but has led to cases of serious injury and death (Henry, 1986). This article addresses the fakes, how they are processed, and forensic applications used to detect and indentify the bogus mix.
Dr. John Daab is a Certified Fraud Examiner specializing in art and forgery research with Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and a Certified Forensics Consultant, Accredited Forensic Counselor and a Registered Investigator with the American College of Forensic Examiners International. John holds Diplomate status (DABFE) with the American Board of Forensic Examiners and holds Certified Homeland Security I (CHS-1) and Certified Intelligence Analyst (IAC) member status with the American Board of Certification in Homeland Security.

An academic with various undergraduate and graduate degrees from philosophy to business with a focus on art authentication, John is a sculptor who works can be seen on the Fine Art Registry (his works can be seen in his FAR online portfolio). He has published more than 100 articles and recently authored, "The Art Fraud Protection Handbook" (Kindle Edition). He has a credential from New York University in Fine and Decorative Arts Appraisal. He completed the docent program at Princeton. His second book is "Forensic Application in Detecting Fine, Decorative, and Collectible Art Fakes" (Kindle Edition). He is developing a third book on the "Business of Art."

February 26, 2011

The Journal of Art Crime: Noah Charney Reviews "A Real Van Gogh: How the Art World Struggles with Truth"

In the fourth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, Noah Charney reviews Henk Tromp's book, "A Real Van Gogh: How the Art World Struggles with Truth" (Amsterdam University Press 2010).
"The art world wants to be trick," Noah Charney writes. "That is certainly the conclusion one comes away with after reading A Real Van Gogh, Henk Tromp's thoroughly researched, highly readable, fascinating new book, which uses the history of van Gogh authenticity and forgery debates to discuss what happens in the art world when someone cries wolf. It's not a pretty picture for the expert who deigns to proclaim a work inauthentic."
To seek out this piece, and many others, consider a subscription to the Journal of Art Crime—the first peer-reviewed academic journal covering art and heritage crime. ARCA publishes two volumes annually in the Spring and Fall. Individual, Institutional, electronic and printed versions are all available, with subscriptions as low as 30 Euros. All proceeds go to ARCA's nonprofit research and education initiatives. Please see the publications page for more information.

February 9, 2011

The Journal of Art Crime: Essayist Simon Cole on Connoisseurship

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

In one of ARCA’s three scholarly responses to David Grann’s “The Mark of a Masterpiece,” published in The New Yorker in July 2010, Simon A. Cole penned an editorial essay, “Connoisseurship All the Way Down: Art Authentication, Forgery, Fingerprint Identification, Expert Knowledge” in the fourth issue of The Journal of Art Crime (Fall 2010).

Simon A. Cole is Associate Professor & Chair of the Department of Criminology, Law, and Society at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Suspect Identities: A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification (Harvard University Press, 2001) and Truth Machine: The Contentious History of DNA Fingerprinting (University of Chicago Press, 2008, with Michael Lynch, Ruth McNally & Kathleen Jourdan). His work has been published in numerous criminology journals, Art Journal, and Suspect (MIT Press, 2005), the 10th issue of the design award winning series Alphabet City. He is co-editor of the journal Theoretical Criminology.

ARCA blog: Professor Cole, if you were given a Caravaggio painting to authenticate, would you trust an art historian or a forensic art expert? Would your preference for the type of expert change if the painting was a 20th century Van Gogh or a 21st century Jackson Pollock?
Professor Cole: I don’t think the point I was making would change based on the period of the painting. But the point I was making was that we can’t really know whom to trust! Certainly, there is an appeal to thinking “science” is preferable to “I know it when I see it” connoisseurship. But, there’s also an appeal to thinking that only an art historian can evaluate all the evidence in all its complexity. And, much of forensic science turns out to essentially be “I know it when I see it” as well (which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong).
ARCA blog: In your essay, you compare art “connoisseurship” with the art – not the science – of identifying fingerprints. Would you have the same level of doubt about the authenticity of a painting’s creator based on the identification of a fingerprint as you would the guilt or innocent of a murderer identified by a “fingerprint expert”?
Professor Cole: Yes! In both cases, the fingerprint attribution would be a valuable piece of evidence. But one would also have to consider the possibility that the attribution is erroneous, which it could be due to a variety of causes (such as fraud, unintentional error, and the possibility of another individuals with very similar friction ridge detail). One would then have to consider this evidence in conjunction with all the other relevant evidence.
To seek out this piece, and many others, consider a subscription to the Journal of Art Crime—the first peer-reviewed academic journal covering art and heritage crime. ARCA publishes two volumes annually in the Spring and Fall. Individual, Institutional, electronic and printed versions are all available, with subscriptions as low as 30 Euros. All proceeds go to ARCA's nonprofit research and education initiatives. Please see the publications page for more information.

February 3, 2011

Financial Times Reporter Interviews Benevolent Forger

Financial Times' columnist John Grapper
by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

In case you missed this interview by the Financial Times' chief business commentator, we're giving you the link here to "The forger's story" (January 21, 2011). John Gapper writes about Mark Landis who dressed up as a priest to donate paintings to art institutions.
"For nearly three decades, Landis has visited ­museums across the US in various guises and tried to donate paintings he has forged. As well as Father Scott, he has posed as “Steven Gardiner” among other aliases. He never asks for money, although museums have often hosted meals for him and made small gifts. His only stipulation is that he is donating in his parents’ names – often his actual father, ­Lieutenant Commander Arthur Landis Jr, a former US Navy officer.

Landis has been prolific and amazingly persistent. A few weeks before he came to Lafayette, “Father Scott” arrived at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, with a ­forgery of Head of a Sioux by Alfred Jacob Miller that he said he was giving in memory of his mother, “Helen Mitchell Scott”. Landis has so far offered copies of that work to five other museums. Yet in all this time, although curators speculate about his motives, no one has found out why he is doing it."
There's a paragraph mentioning the The New York Times that I read as a competitive -- and well-earned -- jab:
"The New York Times reported recently that Landis “seems to have disappeared altogether”, but it did not take long to locate him. After I had visited the Lauren Rogers museum, I drove the few blocks over to the apartment where his mother had lived, in a gated community for the elderly called Sugar Hill Resort."
John Gapper reports on why the forger sat down with him and talked about his family and his motivations. Fascinating story -- Mr. Gapper made me feel as if I too was meeting with the forger in an intimate talk. On his blog, Mr. Gapper continues with information he obtained after the interview with forger Mark Landis about where he purchased some of his materials. No, I won't be a spoiler, you have to go to Mr. Gapper's blog here, it's his story.

Photo: John Gapper.

January 28, 2011

The Journal of Art Crime: Contributor John Daab on Art Fraud

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

The Journal of Art Crime’s fourth issue dated Fall 2010 includes an academic article, “Art Fraud: Deflecting Prosecutorial Intervention Away from the Defective Art Product,” by John Daab, a Certified Fraud Examiner specializing in art and forgery research. Mr. Daab writes in the article’s abstract:
“Historically, art crime consisted of looting, stealing, and burglarizing museums and creating art forgeries, to name a few. Scholars have recently broken down the category into street and white-collar art crime types. For example, the common museum burglaries fall under the street type while art forgery and art fraud are found in the white-collar realm. The notoriety of the break in is hyped by the mass media in their various presentations. Art crimes of this sort are definite, often leaving a trail. Ultimately, the culprits are captured by tips or forensic examination such as fingerprints, burglar tool matching, and so on. In the case of art fraud or forgery, which Starnes has characterized as the “invisible crime,” such definitiveness or clarity of criminal act is often missing (2002). Such indivisibility combined with factors hindering prosecution allows the art criminal to push the envelope to the point that this form of white-collar crime becomes a non-crime. The study below offers an identification of the factors and the consequences surrounding white-collar art crime, leading to a suggestion that art fraud is a gold mine for the white-collar criminal.”
Dr. John Daab is a Certified Fraud Examiner specializing in art and forgery research with Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and a Certified Forensics Consultant, Accredited Forensic Counselor and a Registered Investigator with the American College of Forensic Examiners International. John holds Diplomate status (DABFE) with the American Board of Forensic Examiners and holds Certified Homeland Security I (CHS-1) and Certified Intelligence Analyst (IAC) member status with the American Board of Certification in Homeland Security.

An academic with various undergraduate and graduate degrees from philosophy to business with a focus on art authentication, John is a sculptor who works can be seen on the Fine Art Registry (his works can be seen in his FAR online portfolio). He has published more than 80 articles and recently authored, "The Art Fraud Protection Handbook" (Kindle Edition). He is currently completing studies in Art Appraisal at New York University, completing a docent program at Princeton, and has completed a second book, "Forensic Application in Detecting Fine, Decorative, and Collectible Art Fakes" (Kindle Edition). He is developing a third book on the "Business of Art."

ARCA blog: John, in your article, you study the way Ely Sakhai processed his frauds and comment: “Over the 13-year period it is alleged that 12 million dollars in forgeries were sold with many still in the hands of the unwary.” He was charged in federal court with wire and mail fraud and received four years in jail. Were you surprised?
Dr. Daab: I was surprised that Sakai was prosecuted. White collar crime is rarely prosecuted. I was not surprised how the prosecution was processed. Most art fraud prosecution usually ends up under the wire and mail fraud statutes. Fraud statute violations are difficult to prosecute because of the conditions of intentionality, gain to the fraudster, and loss to the victim usually found as the requirements in the statute. Intentionality is difficult to prove since there are many levels to the processing of the crime. Sifting through all the parties involved takes time and may lead to a total dead end. Prosecuting via the wire and mail fraud statutes is a more efficient method of prosecuting resulting in a higher probability of conviction.
ARCA blog: In your second case study, you describe the art fraud paradigm of selling art of questionable authenticity and value at galleries selling art at sea. No government intervention has taken place according to your article. What do you think it will take to close these dubious practices?
Dr. Daab: I think that selling at sea represents a significant problem for US prosecutorial and probably international agencies since there is an undefined area where the crime takes place, and a difficulty in establishing the conditions for the violation. Lacking this defined area prevents pulling in that prosecutorial agency responsible to charge the alleged criminal, and since consumer protection laws are not operable at sea the conditions supporting the violation are ineffective. Some even argue that the consumers purchasing the art should know better. Supposedly the US policing agencies have cooperative undertakings with foreign governments for crimes at sea, but based on the fact that very few prosecutions have taken place for murder, rape, theft and assaults on board it would be unlikely that any activity will close down the selling of fake art. If the US policing agencies do not go after violent criminals at sea they will certainly not go after art fraudsters.
ARCA blog: Is the term “defective product manufacturer” sufficient to describe what is going on in the art market? How can a buyer feel safe?
Dr. Daab: The art market is an unregulated, uncontrolled and non-transparent market. There is more control over selling used cars than art costing millions of dollars. While there are some organizations like Fine Art Registry focused on vetting fakes, most art is turned over with the assumption that it is genuine. Scholarly investigations have found that art found in some prestigious museums is only 60% authentic. Given that 40% of museum art is of questionable authenticity and surrounded by the foremost art historians and curators, it would be difficult to argue that the art market selling the works of collectible artists lacking this pedigree would hold works of a higher probability of authenticity. I would argue that buyers of art have no safety net in the present art market except to assume that there is a 40% chance that the collectible art one is considering is bogus, and as such maybe one should just walk away from the purchase.
To seek out this piece, and many others, consider a subscription to the Journal of Art Crime—the first peer-reviewed academic journal covering art and heritage crime. ARCA publishes two volumes annually in the Spring and Fall. Individual, Institutional, electronic and printed versions are all available, with subscriptions as low as 30 Euros. All proceeds go to ARCA's nonprofit research and education initiatives. Please see the publications page for more information.

December 8, 2010

August 25, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - No comments

Forgery Ring Discovered in Italy

The BBC and ANSA are reporting that a forged art ring has been discovered by authorities after an 18 month investigation.  The investigation was conducted by monitoring payment transfers and consulting art historians.  Works recovered include forgeries of works by Matisse and Magritte.  There are more than 500 counterfeit works, which may have cost buyers close to 9 million euros. 
  1. Italy seizes counterfeit artwork, BBC, August 25, 2010, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11088475 (last visited Aug 25, 2010).
(cross-posted at http://illicit-cultural-property.blogspot.com/)

    March 20, 2009

    Book Review: The Forger's Spell by Edward Dolnick

    Edward Dolnick's The Forger's Spell is an impeccably researched and entertaining account of the "most successful art forger of the twentieth century (xiii)." In depicting the forgery career of Han Van Meegeren, the book covers a variety of topics from the Dutch experience during World War II and the art collecting practices of Hitler and Goering to the role of connoisseurs and wealthy collectors in the art market. In this respect, Dolnick's work serves as a reference guide for those interested in pursuing further research down the many avenues of art crime.

    Although his work is by no means groundbreaking, it does highlight the critical conditions necessary for the "natural disaster" that resulted in the forger's being able to capitalize on the art establishment's foolhardiness (292). Here we find that the forger's skill in selling a fake product rests as much on his ability to paint as on his identification of the perfect mark. We read how Van Meegeren's marketing of each forgery induced a first impression in experts that instantly removed any doubts in authenticity and therefore any need for scientific testing as well.

    Unfortunately, at times The Forger's Spell is as verbose and repetitive as any Victorian novel. It only overcomes these soporific effects when detailing the clever processes through which Van Meegeren produced his infamous Vermeer's. Never would I have thought that mixing Bakelite with lapis lazuli would yield a blue similar to the one made famous by Vermeer's brushwork. Additionally, I would have never have known that for the thirty six paintings attributed to Vermeer there have been nearly as many misattributed to him by art experts. As Dolnick discusses, these misidentified paintings have caused the ruination of countless careers and reputations.

    Dolnick's intention is not to expose the fallibility of these so-called art experts and historians, but rather to simplify how we experience art by removing any prejudices and by viewing objects with a blank slate. In the words of former Met director Thomas Hoving, the idea is to "be dumb let it [the art] do the talking (242)." In this regard, The Forger's Spell succeeds because it inspires one to appreciate "art for art's sake" and to judge art for his/herself.