Thursday Aug 20, 2009
Art forgery always seems to garner interest by an audience keen on discovering how the art experts were fooled by the swindlers.
Research on the history of art ownership is also known as provenance, which is a record of authenticity; this record is designed to follow a piece of art around as its sold or inherited from one presumably legitimate acquisition to another. Of course, establishing provenance is not always possible—lost documents, war, natural disasters are all involved.
Sometimes, essential information is withheld by dealers or auction houses at the request of previous owners who wish to maintain their anonymity.
Of course, the forgery business seduces, as it is more about buying cachet (ego-based) than the intrinsic art in question. After all, why be upset if you discover you’ve bought a forgery? If you love the piece, what does it matter?
To this end, I encourage patrons of all economic means to acquire the art of living artists who are perhaps known or unknown. This means patrons will have to become their own art experts. This means work. This means finding out for yourself. This means discovering the nature of art—what it is and what it is not. This is a wonderful opportunity to take your power back since no one knows better how you feel about a work than you do.