Sunday, May 03, 2015

Authentication and Conservation Spring 2015

1. LONDON (AFP).- The results are in of a battle that pitted London's culture vultures against a Chinese workshop churning out replicas of the world's most famous paintings, revealing a clear victory for the cut-price masters. For nearly three months, visitors to London's Dulwich Picture Gallery have pored over 270 paintings in its permanent collection, including works by Rembrandt, Rubens and Gainsborough, knowing that there was one $120 (109-euro) fake in their midst. Around 3,000 people voted for their pick of the replica, but only 300 correctly identified it as French artist Jean-Honore Fragonard's 18th century portrait "Young Woman".

2. SAN FRANCISCO San Francisco museum finds 200-year-old DNA in African works
OUT OF AFRICA: An early 20th-century Songola sculpture (far left) and a 19th-century Kusu figure, both from the Democratic
Republic of Congo. The works are in the collection of Richard Scheller, who has
collaborated with and donated pieces to the De Young Museum
A collection of Sub-Saharan African sculpture from a private US collection has undergone DNA analysis to identify the species of tree used to create the works. The process could be used to

authenticate pieces and to provide scholars with more information about the cultures that made them.
The longtime African art collector Richard Scheller, a leading biochemist and an executive vice-president at the biotech corporation Genentech, is working with Lesley Bone, the chief curator at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. “There is a constant issue around authenticity in African art,” Scheller says, and the pair decided that identifying the species of trees used could help to address this issue. “If the species of tree didn’t grow on the continent of Africa, then you might wonder if your object was authentic or not.” Works have also been X-rayed and CT scanned in the run-up to “Embodiments: Masterworks of African Figurative Sculpture” (until 5 July), an exhibition at the museum of 120 pieces from Scheller’s collection. He donated works to the institution in 2013 and 2014, and has pledged to give more in the future.  More..

3.NEW YORK What Happens When You Lose Your Certificate of Authenticity for That Conceptual Work?1
April 1, 2015 by Marion Maneker
Lewitt Installation
A work of conceptual art can be installed in a collectors house where it sits and is enjoyed for many years. But when it comes time to move and recreate the work, or even sell it, collectors can find that a crucial element might have gotten over looked in time. So insurance brokers Crystal & Company and AIG have developed a way to protect owners of conceptual art from a loss of the all-important certificate of authenticity:
Conceptual art is focused more on the idea being expressed, while the form and material are secondary. A certificate is provided by the artist to authenticate an item and without this, the piece is considered worthless. Therefore, if the certificate was lost or damaged, the item may have lost most of its value, according to Crystal & Company.
Historically, references to lost or damaged certificates of ownership have not been spelled out in fine art insurance policies, which can lead to uncertainty in the event of a claim. The endorsement created by AIG insurers in collaboration with Crystal & Co. specifies where conceptual artwork is covered.
“Since a piece of paper is often the only document essentially giving value to a work of conceptual art, we wanted to find a way to protect our clients’ investments even if something happens to their certificate.” Jonathan Crystal, executive vice president of Crystal & Company.
Ron Fiamma, global head of Private Collections for AIG Private Client Group said the coverage idea is an effective way for the companies to address the concerns of their shared clients.
“Conceptual art collecting has increased in recent years, and as a result we have fielded more questions about policy contract coverage,” he said.
Crystal & Company, AIG Launch Conceptual Art Insurance Product for Private Clients

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