art discovery discovery JMW Turner:  the source art discovery Wildenstein institute expertise old master expert opinion Christie's Sotheby's Francoise Boucher
A New Age of Art Discovery
                         Have you or anyone you know found a lost treasure?   

Grisaille by Françoise Boucher: the lost prototype of the print seen below The Lost Boucher

There are many reasons why the chance of discovering, or for that matter, re-discovering an art treasure is becoming somewhat hopeless. The aspiration is nonetheless kept alive by means of good marketing by commercial interests in order to encourage general participation in the 'art industry'. Issues that make such efforts futile surround; litigation, museum bias, government intervention, lack of educational focus on art Connoisseurship, and monopoly control through certain allegiances and alliances. These, in and of themselves are all great issues, and are introduced in varying degrees of thoroughness within this art project by using excerpts from  Art World’s Dirty Little Secret  r malcolm setters / graham setters

There are many new tools that are presently being used in the search for truth: forensic science for instance, but there are also counter-productive forces that confront such unbiased efforts. Beyond the areas just mentioned, there is the 'catalogue raisonné'. These definitive works written about specific artists can be an advantageous tool for research, but if the concept of such a production is used incorrectly such a collation can be a devastating weapon.

The problem usually arises when those commissioning their production do so in order to limit the quantity of an artist's work (accepted as authentic) in order to control the artist's market. The bigger problem becomes manifest when a cataloguer is not a connoisseur. Chances are they will include only the sure bets, those artworks with outstanding pedigrees, while neglecting the more novel aspect of an artist's development. In other words, most often, only the historically recognized works are included. Often, the cataloguer has limited initiative or even ability when it comes to recognizing new discoveries. These are the works that have  never been seen before or those that lack iron-clad provenance.

A cataloguer that has any doubt as to the authenticity of a work, or wishes not to recognize it for any one of a number of reasons will often disparage it and attribute it as a work by a student of the 'Master' in question; a studio work done with the help of students; a work by a follower, or a copy done "after" another well-known artwork. Worst of all it might be called a fake - that which is meant to deceive. The cataloguer is likely to be correct with most entries, but the over-riding political pressure in some instances is bound to make even the most altruistic actuary bend in deference to authority.

   What constitutes a Copy, and why does the concept have the art world running scared?                                                   Art World’s Dirty Little Secret


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