FRAUD: Art Fraud is not restricted to the individual. Art Fraud is also seen within the larger art community based more on the neglect of expert
                                                                                                                                                    JMW Turner the source fraud: art fraud
Art Fraud of the Highest Order

How much distortion of Art History is due to aristocratic influence and governmental self-serving regulations? Certain customs and laws control the movement of art in order to protect tourism, jobs, and financial benefits that derive from historic art.

Top level control groups understand that historic art is big business by virtue of the prices that rare artworks command and national tourism that concurrently follows supportive publicity. Individuals act out their roles within this schema in accordance with customary precedence, and often, do not realize the larger implications of their actions, or inactions.

In addition, there is a constant fear held by subservient officials, curators, and educators of being reproached or sued for decisions made or opinions offered to the general public; and therefore, there is a tendency to distance themselves from newly discovered or re-discovered historic masterpieces. Many such artworks remain in limbo without proper attributions, or are given deprecating ones at best.

There are many subsidiary tentacles of this beast that baits the modern day connoisseur.

The Bigger Problem…

Ultimately the bigger problem is one of fundamental social issues, ones that revolve around politics and economics. The main dilemma as it pertains to Art History is that one of the most dependable ways by which any culture records its general history and long term history is through tangible artifacts such as art. Because much of ones learning is born of past experience, it sensibly follows that truth and accuracy of historical and art historical records equate to accuracy in contemporary decision-making.

Self-serving interests of the individual are what motivate political decision-making. Whether a country’s control group is an old boy’s club, aristocracy, or corporate board network, the result is the same—Reciprocal Patronage.

Reciprocal patronage is not an altruistic standard; it often leads to deception and injustice. As a result art historical accuracy is subordinated to the desire for short term gain. Economic concerns over tourism and the allocation of individual benefits, and those related to individual and national prestige are the major forces that are presently driving a wedge of deception between truth and history.

 In this day and age the term art expert is surely sterile

Deposition, tiny 17th century oil on copper

The complexities of art appraisal, art evaluation, and art authentication are such that most of those with an advanced understanding of the art world are loath to get involved unless they have something to gain.

In the museum setting experts are most often unwilling to speak out in support of a newly discovered or re-discovered painting because of orders from senior institutional bureaucracy. Terms and expressions such as society, institute, community of experts, research project are somewhat euphemistic. Members of such self-supporting groups are in fact allies in a battle against litigation first and foremost.

Most museum curators and institutional experts have little to gain and a lot to lose if they wrongly accept a "dud" as authentic; and thus, in an attempt to distance themselves from responsibility they more often become an obstruction to those seeking a proper identification for their art work. Ultimately, it is important to remember that a picture is often condemned for more complex reasons than because it is spurious or fake. The following are areas that must be fully considered when assessing authorship:

                                         Art World’s Dirty Little Secret
                                                                                           r malcolm setters / graham setters

forensics studies in art

art scientific analysis



art politics

"'In 1987, Sotheby's paid out-of-court damages to the original owner of a Sebastiano del Piombo portrait knocked down for £180 at auction in Chester. It subsequently sold for £330,000 in London, and - after being cleaned - for a reported £6.5 million to the Getty (where quite a few rediscovered masterpieces end up).' (Ian Warrell/Warrell, The Age, AU 2002)

 "Even as early as 1931 Walter Bayes found that the legal fears of one influential official over authenticating paintings drove him to incompetence. When Bayes asked: “Millionaires… must tremble at your nod,” the reply came: “If you knew my boy… how much it is the other way round. The interests concerned are so great, and money can do such strange things, that I find it generally safer to hold my tongue." (Walter Bayes, Turner, A Speculative Portrait, p5)

It is clear that an art expert must tackle diversity!!!

What one should look for when acquiring artwork: Quality... originality... support... rarity... condition

Quality might best be defined as the ability of an artwork to rest comfortably within its format. This takes skill and practice on the part of the artist, and it is the 'master' with the greatest ability to present a bondable unity for the viewer who gains 'genius' status.

This is surely a two-way process by which the viewer must also have the harmony of spirit to appreciate the artwork.

Originality brings the artwork as close to a creator's genius as possible. Firstly the object must be done by the hand of the artist as opposed to a reproduction; and secondly, it should be as central as possible to one of the artist's most innovative periods.

Support for an artist can come in many ways, some orthodox and others revolutionary. The orthodox ones might include: prizes, medals, and professional designations from institutions (for example: JMW Turner RA, or James Orrock RI, ROI). Institutions by virtue of their bureaucratic nature tend to reward traditional artists as opposed to the most innovative ones. There are many more traditional artists.

The French impressionists won very little orthodox support, but were very revolutionary. Price listings for their work and the volume of literature about them attest to their posthumous importance. Turner was also revolutionary and this is what bolstered his fame; much more-so than the support he received from the Royal Academy R. A.

Rarity is a result of limited supply and this in and of itself will increase the price of an artwork. If the art and historic value of an item is great, and the supply is limited, competition will make such work hard to find.

Condition is a relative term. How old or fragile an artwork is will determine the amount of degradation or damage that is acceptable. Seldom does one find a Renaissance sculpture or a medieval picture unscathed. Conversely, experimentation with untested media has resulted in substantial conservation problems for modern works.


          - Is it portable?
          - Is it easy to store?
- Is it easy to protect; does it fit into a vault or safety deposit box?
          - Lifestyle; do you have a small or large home, apartment or country estate?

         - Consider the proposed use of your potential new treasure, and if it is suitable for its new location and purpose.
       - Shipping; will it require special packaging?
     - Longevity; is it subject to environmental degradation?

        - This is good for immediate resale.
      - Conversely, as an intermediate to long term investment, popularity is a negative factor (a fad soon passes).

        - Is the piece from an important collector, dealer, collection? It helps to establish authenticity and gives the piece prestige. Although celebrity of a former owner may perk interest presently, memories of famous people fade, reducing the effectiveness of this factor long term.
         - It can prove helpful if a piece has at one time sold through a major auction house.
       - Collect as much literature and history on a piece after acquisition; this will prove invaluable if resold.

        - The dealer motto: “buy low/sell dear”; if you choose the right dealer he/she will help you accomplish the same.
        - Predict popular trends before they become full blown.

        - Is the piece important enough to interest major dealers, museums, or major auction galleries?
        - If an item is part of a collection, lesser important pieces are acceptable additions.

        - Is this easily established?
        - Have similar items sold at major auction galleries?

        - Recognizable items are easier to classify and therefore, often develop into unquestioned commodities.
 Helpful for authentication.
        - It is more difficult to find recognizable pieces, because most have already been discovered.

        - Is the item attractive to nations with strong economies relative to ones own?  Presently some of these are USA, Germany and Hong Kong.

        - This is important but is relative to age, material, and rarity. 

 If your object is aesthetically appealing, then your potential new treasure will command greater appreciation.
       - Has your potential treasure been produced by a skilled artisan, craftsman, or talented artist?
       - Decorative quality increases demand and raises price.

       - Historic (appreciated by scholars and connoisseurs)
       - Heritage and sentimental value
       - Educational value
       - Cross-cultural appreciation

       - Negative and positive publicity
     - Ivory collecting; what are the legal consequences? Although an important historic carving medium, recent negative attitudes towards its use have been very influential politically and socially; which in turn has affected its desirability as a collectable. Gun collecting is affected likewise.
      - Impressionist paintings, the Art Deco style, Ming porcelain and the like; recognize how publicity has reinforced the popularity of these and other collectibles.

      - Heirloom
      - Heritage
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Source: JMW Turner Joseph Mallord William, National Gallery of Canada Metropolitan Museum of Art Museum of Modern Art the British Museum art museum art history Christie’s Sotheby’s Tate Gallery art world painting old master paintings sea piece Shipwreck Martin Butlin Wildenstein Institute Yale Center British Art The Getty Getty Research Institute provenance Clore Gallery Tate Gallery Turner Gallery curator museum  antique forensic fingerprint conservator International Foundation for Art Research IFAR English landscape art historian art criticism IIC CCI Canadian Conservation Institute McCrone Research Institute artist artists pictures paintings gallery galleries drawing picture biography collection archive history of art discovery discoveries discovery ca discovery forensic science Tate Gallery London the tate Turner Society Turner Society News TSN old master masterpiece Rembrandt Picasso Francoise Boucher Monet Boucher Claude Monet Angelica Kauffmann Murillo Whistler James McNeill Whistler Rubens Peter Paul Rubens Renior Claude Titian Joshua Reynolds fakes forgeries connoisseurship connoisseur art expert renaissance Getty Museum James Orrock Orrock Sir J.C. Robinson Turner portrait John Paul Getty Agnew Agnew’s antiques research specialist consultant expertise professional expert witness Oxford Cambridge Frick Collection curator Andrew Mellon Goya Manet Emily Carr Manet Durer Albrecht Durer Peter Paul Rubens