July 3, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Spring/Summer 2012: John Daab on "Daubertizing the Art Expert"

Fraud expert John Daab writes about the delicate nature of art authentication in his article "Daubertizing the Art Expert" in the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of the Journal of Art Crime, which can now be electronically downloaded with a subscription.
Abstract: Most industries in the United States are regulated by law. The world of art, although regulated in a general framework, is not regulated when it comes to selling that which is authentic (Mccullough, 2012). Million dollar allegedly authentic works of fine and decorative art are vetted and sold by art “experts” with little or unrelated education, questionable training, non-mentored or no specific expert work experience, hyped commendations, bloated resumes and unreferenced mass media professional status. With the help of the mass media, such individuals achieve expert status without satisfying the standards of that which the law or scholarship requires (Briefel, 2006). In the recent Wolfgang Beltracchi forgery case, 47 million dollars of paintings from the “hand of various artists” were authenticated with the note made by the experts that “...using science was a waste of time” (Wright, 2012). Science entered with the result that the material make-up of the works precluded that they were created during the period of artist involvement. Out of 44 paintings, not one survived the scalpel of scientific analysis. This article addresses the conditions associated with the proliferation of wrong calls by so-called art experts and examines how scholarship, Daubert rulings, and Federal Rules of Evidence standards may assist in reducing the bad calls and consequentially art scamming, forgery and fraud.
John Daab was formerly a NYCTP Police Officer and NYU Professor. John is currently a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and a Certified Forensics Consultant (CFC), Accredited Forensic Counselor (AFC) and a Certified Criminal Investigator, specializing in art forensics research with the American College of Forensic Examiners International (ABFEI). John holds Diplomate (DABFE) status and is a board member of the American Board of Forensic Examiners (ABFE), Criminal Investigator division. John is a Certified Homeland Security 1, (CHS1) and a Certified Intelligence Analyst (IAC) member of the American Board of Certification in Homeland Security (ABCHS). John has won awards for teaching management and service to NYU. John has published over 70 articles and recently authored, “The Art Fraud Protection Handbook.” John is currently completing studies in Art Appraisal at NYU, beginning a docent program at Princeton, and has completed a second book, "Forensic Applications in Detecting Fine, Decorative, and Collectible Art Fakes".