Aspects of Art Forgery by H. Van De Waal, Th. Würtenberger, W. Froentjes (auth.)

By H. Van De Waal, Th. Würtenberger, W. Froentjes (auth.)

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The world stood amazed at the great achievements that could be realised by a human talent, genius, in the field of artistic creation. The value and importance of works of art now became more and more dependent on the strength of the artist's personality. The artist's special position was indeed often justified with an appeal to the divine origin of his genius. It was in this period, which brought a sort of "glorification" of the personality of the artist, that an idea arose which is nothing if not basic for an understanding of art forgery : the idea of originality.

Thus in Late Antiquity, works of Greek plastic art were forged; in the Renaissance, works of Antiquity; and in the Romantic period, Gothic paintings. At the present time, however, not only the artistic models ofthe historie past but also all sorts of works of modern art are being forged, and in such enormous numbers that it is now almost impossible to distinguish what is genuine from what is faked in the art produced. One may often feel inclined to believe that Sainte-Beuve was prophesying correctly when he said, "La phase ultime de l'art,je la trouve dans la falsification" (For me, the ultimate phase of art is forgery) !

THOMAS WÜRTENBERGER authenticity. Ajudge or counsel for the prosecution who accepts without question such a plea ofcredulity with regard to assurances of authenticity will hardly ever succeed in unmasking an art swindler. The prosecuting authorities have the difficult but indispensable task of tracing with the utmost care the origin of a fake, its "provenance," a time-consuming and expensive task which often takes them beyond their national boundaries and which all too often leads nowhere, As rega rds crimes offorgery in the realm of works of art, Dutch law has the great advantage of having available the special provision ofArt.

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