The Illicit Allure of Art Forgery, by Olivia McEwan, Hyperallergic, September 11, 2023
An anarchic desire to undermine the art world’s institutions lends art forgers a roguish, rebellious identity that is both compelling and unsavory.
LONDON — A certain romanticism surrounds art forgery. Unlike other material goods, such as watches, handbags, or even coins, artworks are unique objects, the value of which is determined by quantitative and qualitative factors. For this reason their trade within art markets relies to a great extent on good faith. The success of commercial galleries and dealers depends on integrity — that what they are selling is what they say. Deliberate deceit, and on a significant scale, is cause for scandal and a career’s end, as in the high-profile case of Knoedler, an art dealership established in 1846 but closed in 2011 following a flurry of lawsuits.
It is arguably especially embarrassing when national museums, staffed by art historical experts who are (on paper at least) driven by the interests of the public as opposed to financial gain, become tangled up in a contested artwork. The Louvre and the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris, the National Gallery of London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna have all at some point endorsed the authenticity of works sold by the alleged forger Giuliano Ruffini, charged with gang fraud and money laundering in December 2022…
…the Courtauld Gallery presents an unconventional exhibition, Art and Artifice: Fakes from the Collection, which comprises nothing but forgeries it has acquired during its history. Read the whole article here