The Authentification of a Michelangelo and the Forgery of a Campendonk

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/arts/design/the-pieta-behind-the-couch.html?ref=design

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,765658,00.html

It seems fitting that this New York Times article ran only a few days before a piece in the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Steve Martin formerly owning a forged work in his collection. When Steve Martin originally bought the painting from a Paris art gallery in 2004 it had been authenticated by an art expert.  The forgery was put on the market along with other forgeries by a group who claimed to be the heirs to a private collection which had been hidden during the Nazi era to escape bans on ‘degenerate’ art.  Some forgeries of Max Ernst paintings were so convincing that even Werner Spies, an art historian and Ernst expert, gave them his seal of approval.

The success of these forgeries calls into question the efficacy of the authentication process and the continued reliance on connoisseurship. The NYTimes article delves into this question in an article which explores the provenance of a Pieta’ attributed to Michelangelo.

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About projectpatrimonio

Helena Boyden Lamb, born 1985 in New York, has studied and worked in Politics, Heritage Ethics and Politics, and Opera Singing. Most recently, she is working in Brussels where she started in a European Think Tank and is now the Executive Office of a NGO which facilitates Youth Politics across the EU. She has a Bachelor with Honors from Stanford University, California in Classics: Politics and Heritage and a Masters with Honors from the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK in European Identity. She has conducted academic or independent grant-funded research in the UK, France, Italy, Greece, Russia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, and Albania. She was, previously, an archaeologist and an opera singer. Cynthia Querio is a Museum Educator currently living and working in Los Angeles. She is interested in heritage and identity politics and the role of museum education departments in the trajectory of this debate. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue a 9 month graduate internship at the Getty Villa's education department and has continued to work in many museums in Los Angeles including LACMA and the Autry National Center. Her academic background is in the Classics, which was her major at Stanford University and which she continued to pursue with a Masters in the History of Classical Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art.
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