$1.5 million painting Taiwanese boy punched may be counterfeit

Last weeks buzz about the young 12-year-old Taiwanese boy who tripped and punched through a $1.5 million painting at Taipei’s Huashan 1914 Creative Park has brought about questions regarding who created the painting. While originally thought to be a creation by Paolo Porpora (1617-1673), experts are saying the creator may in fact be Mario Nuzzi (1603-1673), with artnet’s Price Database attributing Composizione con vaso di fiori, the punched painting, to Nuzzi. A buyer was not found for this work in 2012 at an auction at Casa d’Aste Della Rocca in Turin, Italy, with its estimated price of €25,000-€30,000, which raised suspicions of its $1.5 million value. Those who put together the exhibition in which the painting was featured believe the work is by Porpora. But curator Sean Hu of Taipei-based Hu’s Art Company questions the authenticity of the piece. “From a professional’s perspective, if the paintings are so old and expensive, they should not have been exposed to an environment without constant temperature and humidity,” said Hu. Since the damage to the piece was accidental and the painting was insured, the boy and his family are not liable. The damaged canvas is being restored by Leo...

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British gallerist imprisoned for selling counterfeit works

David Carter, of the Hayle Gallery, in the United Kingdom, has been sentenced to a year in prison and a two-year suspension for having sold counterfeit paintings by Cornwall painters. On 24 June, 2015, David Carter admitted in court that he was selling fakes to customers online for a few hundred pounds. He claimed that the works in question were Alfred Willis or John Brett creations, and sold them for tens of thousands of pounds, or 20,000% of the original price of the falsified works. The investigation was launched after a client had doubts about the authenticity of a painting she had bought from the gallery owner. The expert she hired contacted the Cornwall Trading Standards. After a three-year long investigation, David Carter’s guilt was established. At his trial, he pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud. Alfred Wallis and John Brett are artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hailing from the region of Cornwall, they are well known for their paintings of...

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New York instates new authentification law

New York, 14 April 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA). New York’s Supreme Court has passed a decision stating that for forgery claims to be considered — even in cases where works are obviously fake — claimants must produce an expert capable of examining the work both prior to sale and after the dispute, and who can testify that it is the same work as the one which is sold. According to a report published in The Art Newspaper, the new ruling risks “chaos” and “complication”. A lawyer surveyed for the publication seemed sceptical of the coherency of the decision, commenting: “That can’t be right, yet it seems to be what the case says.” Other critics expressed fears that the ruling could reduce the number of forgery cases undercovered, and have also noted that the definition of “expert” remains unclear. Others fear that the ruling could provide dealers of fake works with a ready-made defence, allowing them to negate “custody” of a work, instead directing responsibility for a work’s status to the buyer. The decision forms part of a broader debate, focused upon monitoring where forgeries are produced, and how they end up being sold.  Commentators in The Art Newspaper said that, whilst a move was needed, other systems  — such as a digital chip or tagging system — would be...

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Street artist JonOne goes to court over counterfeit works

Paris, 19 February 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA). The prolific street artist, JonOne, otherwise known as John Perello, has filed a court case against the art dealer Warren Levy for the sale of counterfeit works. JonOne has accused Levy of selling 32 fake works, some of which are still thought to be in circulation. John Perello has made his name as a legendary figure in graffiti art. Born in New York in 1963, he began painting in Harlem at a young age, and formed the arts collective 156 All Starz in 1984. On moving to Paris in 1987, he began to paint on canvas. A prolific painter by any standards, his yearly output of work frequently reaches around 200 pieces. This high production rate has undoubtedly engineered favorable conditions for the creation of fake works. The trial involving Warren Levy has been pushed back to 25 June 2014 by the Tribunal de Paris, on the principal that Levy’s lawyer, having only been notified of the case on 15 December 2013, should be given more time to collate the necessary information to form a defence. Four charges are to be brought against Warren Levy: fraud, concealment, sale of fake works and deception of the market. This trial could seem trivial – the case based upon the comparatively small amount of €33,750 – but it does represent the continually evolving attitudes towards street art, and its increasingly important position on the art...

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Fernand Léger painting is a fake, thanks to carbon dating

Venice, 12 February 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA). Italian researchers have solved a question which had puzzled art historians for more than forty years, relating to the authenticity of a Fernand Léger painting, identified as belonging to his 1913-1914 Contrasting Forms series. The painting has now been classified as a definitive fake. The Italian scientists used a method which has never before been applied to this type of case, analysing an unpainted part of the canvas. Using a particle accelerator to measure the level of carbon 14, they determined that the painting had been created after 1959, four years after Léger’s death. The findings confirmed scholars’ long-standing doubts about the painting’s authenticity. The painting had been kept in storage at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. It had never been exhibited or displayed, due to a lack of expert...

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