Art Forgery: The International Context

  • Post category:Issue XXII

Viktoriia Soloshenko
PhD in History, Associate Professor, Deputy Director for Scientific Affairs, State Institution “Institute of World History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine”
ORCID: 0000-0002-7096-9859

DOI: 10.37837/2707-7683-2021-45

Abstract. The article deals with the problem of art forgery, its local and global dimensions, whilst also exploring the origins of this practice. The author argues that works of art have always aroused and continue arousing great interest among collectors, art admirers, and specialists in forgeries. It has been found in the research that collecting has been practiced since ancient times, in a certain way promoting the process of art forgery.
The author mentions well-known and reputable world auction houses and reveals the role of some of them in trafficking forged paintings. The article emphasises that the scandals related to trading art forgery cast a dark shadow on auctions and galleries in general.
Paintings have proven to be one of the most common items of antiquity and forgery. It is established in the article that the prices for the artworks of famous masters have increased from thousands to millions of dollars over the years, and that they are generally recognised as a reliable investment. The replenishment of collections with purchased works of art is always a large and lucrative business. However, not all of these masterpieces are originals. The presented research shows that this problem keeps gaining momentum and needs to be resolved on a global level.
The article notes that the 20th century can be characterised by positive achievements and discoveries of humankind. However, it has engraved in history the problem of art forgery mired in scandals of a worldwide scale. The author highlights famous forgeries and falsifications as well as the most popular art forgers and paintings. The forgers were found to have skillfully used the hardships connected with the chaos and displacement of cultural property caused by the two world wars. As a result, forgery artworks appear on the auctions, where they can find their new owners. It misleads museums, collectors, and millions of art lovers.
The article describes the methods, which forgers use in their work, and reveals their motivation for making fake art products. The details and ways, which allows distinguishing a counterfeit artwork from the original, are also covered in the research.
The article shows how the international community invests great efforts to find originals, detect existing forgeries, and prevent the creation of new fakes. Interpol’s opening of a previously classified database of stolen works of art has proved helpful in partially blocking forged artwork distribution channels.
Keywords: works of art, forgers, forgeries, art market, auction houses, galleries, museums, theft, search, Interpol.

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