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February 7, 2011

The Journal of Art Crime: Editor-in-Chief and Columnist Noah Charney on "Lessons from the History of Art Crime

Photo by Urska Charney

In his column, "Lessons from the History of Art Crime", Editor-in-Chief Noah Charney examines the methods of authentication under the title "The Art World Wants to Be Deceived: Issues in Authentication and Inauthentication" in the fourth issue of The Journal of Art Crime.

Professor Charney writes about the three ways to authenticate art: connoisseurship, scientific analysis, and provenance. Although connoisseurship used to be the primary method of authenticating art, Charney writes, the new phenomenon of scientific analysis can be used by shade characters in shining armor. Provenance, the documented history of an object, has been on the rise in the past two decades but it relies on historical documents that rarely survive intact over the centuries. In the end, Charney recommends some combination of scientific analysis and provenance provides the strongest argument for authenticity, although the art world still relies on expertise which is still unregulated.

Noah Charney is the Founder and President of ARCA. Recently a Visiting Lecturer at Yale University, he is currently Adjunct Professor of Art History at the American University of Rome. He is the editor of ARCA's first book, Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Praeger 2009).

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.