It was recently reported that authorities in Basil, Switzerland, are prosecuting a local art expert who they say sold hundreds of fake prints that he passed off online as the work of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso and others over 10 years.
Art experts are now blaming the internet for the large number of fake prints on the market. Timothy Carpenter, who is part of the FBI’s art crime team, explains that before the internet, forgers needed to find ways to get forged works into the marketplace (through unsuspecting galleries, auction rooms, etc.); now all it takes is the click of a button. Adrienne R. Fields, of the Artists Rights Society, says she spends many hours each week sending out “take down” notices to websites featuring works that are not authentic.
As technology grows, it becomes easier and easier to reproduce a work of art that can even fool a so-called expert. However, true experts, with years of experience, can often sniff out the forgeries. John Szoke, a New York based art dealer in prints, explains that determining if a work is real or not is not always very easy. One needs to study the color of the paper, the quality of the printing, the condition of the print, all of which you compare with the original … [a]nd then you need years and years of experience.
Last year, we wrote an article on authenticity Read our “How to Safely Navigate the Art Market: Authenticity”.