History of Art forgery

A City on a Rock, long attributed to Goya, is now thought to have been painted by 19th-century artist Eugenio Lucas Velázquez. Elements of the painting appear to have been copied from autographed works by Goya, and the painting is therefore classified as a pastiche. Compare to Goya's May tree.

Art forgery is the selling and creating artworks that are wrongly credited to other, usually more popular artists. Art forgery can be remarkably lucrative, but modern analysis and dating techniques have made the identification of forged artwork much more uncomplicated.

There are typically three varieties of an art forger. The person who produces the false piece, the person who discovers an ancient art form and tries to pass it off as something it is not, to increase the piece’s value, and the third who finds that work is a fake but sells it as an absolute original anyway.

Art Forger

An art forger must be somewhat skilled in the kind of art he is trying to copy. Many forgers were once fledgling artisans who attempted, unsuccessfully, to cut into the market, ultimately resorting to forgery. Sometimes, an authentic item is stolen or borrowed from the owner to produce a copy. Forgers will then return the copied art to the owner, keeping the primary piece for himself. In 1799, a brilliant self-portrait by Albrecht Dürer, which had been displayed in the Nuremberg Town Hall since the 16th century, was later loaned to Abraham Wolfgang Küfner. The painter made an exact copy of the original and returned the original fake one in place. The forgery was ultimately discovered in 1805 when the original piece came up for auction and was bought for the royal collection.

Forged self-portrait of Albrecht Dürer.

Let’s see the History of Art Forgery starting from the Greek-Roman Era.

Art forgery records back more than 2000 (two thousand years). Roman sculptors presented copies of Greek sculptures. The modern buyers likely knew that they were not the real greek sculptures. During the classical period, painted generally created art for religious inspiration, historical reference, or solely artistic enjoyment. The artist’s identity was often of little value to the buyer.

During the era of the Renaissance, many painters took on students who studied painting techniques by copying the style and works of the master. As a fee for the training, the master would then go to the market and sell these works in medieval auctions. This practice was commonly considered a fee, not a forgery, although some of these fake copies have later wrong been attributed to the teacher/master.

After the Renaissance, the growing prosperity of the bourgeoisie created an intense demand for art. Near the top of the 14th century, Roman statues were discovered in Italy, enhancing the populace’s interest in antiques and an obvious increase in these objects’ value. This upsurge soon spread to modern and recently dead artists. Art had become a marketable commodity, and the financial value of the artwork depended on the artist’s status. To recognize their works, painters started to mark them. These marks later evolved into signatures. As the demand for specific artwork started to outstrip the supply, fake marks and signatures started to appear on the art-buying market.

During the mid-16th century, mimics of Albrecht Dürer’s printmaking style added signatures to them to enhance the value of their prints. In his copy of the Virgin, Dürer added the inscription, “Be cursed, plunderers and imitators of others’ work and talent.”

Even remarkably famous artists created forgeries. In 1496, Michelangelo designed a sleeping Cupid figure and covered it with acidic earth to cause it to look ancient. He then sold it to a rich dealer, Baldassare del Milanese, who sold it to Cardinal Riario of San Giorgio, who later discovered the fraud and asked for his money back. However, Michelangelo was allowed to keep his share of the capital.

The 20th-century rich-art market has favored artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Matisse, and Klee, and works by these artists have generally been targets of forgery. These frauds are sold to auction houses and art galleries who cater to the tastes of antiquities and art collectors; at the time of the invasion of France by German forces during World War II, the painting which carried the highest price at Drouot, the leading French auction house, was a bogus Cézanne.

Was it worth reading? Let us know.