Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Quick Takes - January 2011

1. Santa Fe, New Mexico - My colleagues in Santa Fe are telling me that there is a sor sale sign in front of Bernard Ewell's office on Old Santa Fe Trail. Whether this is an indication of more heat from the Park West fiasco is a possibility. For the last several months I have been hearing that there is another show to fall in this case.

2. Brooklyn, New York: In reviewing the articles in this issue on authenticity I would be remiss if I failed to mention some of the examples that soem museums have set in taking responsibility for the mistakes their institutions have made over the years. A great example is the exhibition “Coptic Sculpture in the Brooklyn Museum”,  which opened on 13 February 2009 and featured a number of examples of Coptic art in their collections that proved to be fake. This courage sends a strong message to patrons and the art world that Brooklyn will maintain the highest standards in their collections. Having said this and assumed the best I can't be sure that this move was not the result at least to some degree from pressure from Coptic experts.

3. Forbes Magazine 2008 : How to Spot a Fake is an excellent short article on methodology you might not have heard of except in technological discussions of art fraud. See the link:


4. British Museum, London : Although this is an old story, it is worth repeating. I could not begin to count the number of discussions I have had over the years about collection history and its importance. It is now the holy grail and I feel certain that some dealers are scrambling to make the story fit the piece. So now even more than in the past,  the story is just part of the picture. When I tell people that we have documentation of fakes being made as early as 1820 in Mexico, there is almost always disbelief. For them I recount this story of the Azec crystal skull that was made in the mid 19th century by a very accomplished craftsman.
and http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/research_news/studying_the_crystal_skull.aspx

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