Blog Subscription via

February 10, 2011

The Journal of Art Crime: Essayist Christopher A. Marinello from the Art Loss Register "On Fakes"

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

In the fourth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, Christopher A. Marinello discusses the Art Loss Register’s response to the proliferation of forgeries in the art market in an editorial essay titled “On Fakes”.

Christopher A. Marinello had been a litigator in the criminal and civil courts in New York for more than 20 years before joining the Art Loss Register (ALR) as General Counsel. Chris has represented galleries, dealers, artists and collectors and is currently managing all U. S. and worldwide art recovery cases for the London-based Art Loss Register, the largest international database of stolen, missing and looted artwork used by law enforcement agencies, the insurance industry, the art market, museums, and private collectors who can commission pre-sale due diligence checks and fine art recovery services. Chris serves as the ALR’s chief negotiator and has mediated and settled countless art related disputes as well as several high profile Holocaust Restitution claims. He is often asked by law enforcement to take part in clandestine art recovery operations and has participated in numerous international conferences on stolen art. Chris has taught Law & Ethics in the Art Market at New York University SCPS, Seton Hall University and Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Masters Degree Program and is a member of Advisory council of the Appraisers Association of America and Inland Marine Underwriter’s Association.

ARCA blog: In your essay, you say that fake and fraudulent artwork being sold in the market place is at the top of the agenda for dealers and collectors. The Art Loss Register has compiled a Fakes Database. How long has this service been in place and how would you describe the size of the Fakes Database?
Mr. Marinello: "The sheer number of fake and fraudulent works is astounding. We are currently compiling records and resources from law enforcement worldwide as well as dealer associations, collector groups, artist authentication boards and committees as well as other sources. We have been working on this project for several years now and fully expect the numbers to overtake those for stolen art."
ARCA blog: You write that The Art Loss Register is open to technological advances in location devices and authentication methods but still relies upon the “keen eye of an educated expert and the diligent provenance research performed by trained art historians.” Do you see any changes in how connoisseurship is being applied today?
Mr. Marinello: "Today’s art historians are certainly taking advantage of advances in technology. The point I want to make is that despite these advances, there is no substitute for a well trained art historian. Computers cannot replicate the skill necessary to perform proper due diligence and provenance research. I applaud the ARCA program for educating the already well educated and stressing the importance of academic analysis."
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.

Photo: Raphaelllo Sanzio's "Portrait of A Young Man." Mr. Marinello was asked to provide an image for this blog post and he chose Raphael's painting, formerly exhibited at the Czartoryski Museum, Kraków, Poland, and missing since 1945 when it was stolen by the Nazis, making it one of the most important paintings lost during the war.