On Fakes in Art

Download On Fakes in Art

Post on 24-Jan-2017




0 download


On Fakes in ArtAuthor(s): Lester B. BridahamSource: Art Journal, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Spring, 1969), p. 289Published by: College Art AssociationStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/775254 .Accessed: 15/06/2014 07:39Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. .College Art Association is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Art Journal.http://www.jstor.org This content downloaded from on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 07:39:38 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=caahttp://www.jstor.org/stable/775254?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspof tension in Rolin's own stiffly posed hands-or even the lack of relationship be- tween his hands and arms or oversized head. They fail to observe that the billowing drap- ery of the Virgin does not represent an at- tempt to float her off of the ground, but is rather a mark of Van Eyck's inability to han- dle functional drapery, which is a result of his emphasis on surface detail rather than underlying structure. The writers claim that "time, as far as the whole picture is con- cerned, has a breathless immediacy about it, a hushed ecstasy" despite the fact that both Rolin and Christ appear to be lost in their own thoughts and the fact that all kinds of time are shown: historical time (the sculp- tures), snapshot stop-action time (the two men), and metaphorically extended time (Christ's gesture and the bridge). They note especially that "the peacocks and magpies are caught in a moment," although these birds are so formally organized-paired two and two and arranged at right angles facing out, right, left, and inward-that they metaphorize the interchangeability of parts in this pic- ture. And the authors claim that there are two schemes of perspective, which simply is not true. By discussing only a few selective per- spective lines, Felheim and Brownlow stay within, or nearly within, the bounds of truth in situating the general area of their conver- gence. But the writers mislead the reader in claiming that this none-too-precise perspec- tive construction is, in fact, two distinct sys- tems. The authors properly insist that criticism requires careful attention to the artist's preci- sions-yet their statment that "peninsula, is- land and bridge are another trinity floating in the river of time" epitomizes the strained construction which they put on the things and relationships in the picture in order to bring them into line with their analysis. The moralistic tone of their condemnation of "any facile allegorizing of the picture's con- tents" rings a bit hollow when we ask whether the evidence is any stronger for calling this "the river of time" than for Panofsky's in- terpretation of it as the river which runs through the New Jersulaem. Even less justifi- cation exists for calling the bridge, island, and (I must suppose) the largest one of sev- eral peninsulas a floating (? do bridges or peninsulas-or even islands-float?) trinity, for they are entirely different from one an- other. In short, Felheim and Brownlow's rather ingenious interpretation of the "Rolin Madonna" does violence both to the picture's precisions and to its inconsistencies. JOHN L. WARD University of Florida ON FAKES IN ART SIR: I believe that it will be useful to readers of ART JOURNAL to have abstracts or references 289 Letters to the Editor to articles in the press on the authenticity of works of art, and submit the following: The New York Times, December 28, 1968: "Lefkowitz Seeks Bar to Art Fakes-Bill Would Make Approval of Counterfeit a Crime," page 23. The proposed statute would provide a fine of $1,000 or a year in prison or both for an expert who signs an authentica- tion certificate for a work he knows to be false. The proposed law is part of a series of Lef- kowitz measures aimed at combating the sale of fake works of art in the New York market. Last year a bill was enacted into law that makes art auctioneers and their consignors le- gally liable, despite their customary catalogue disclaimer, for a work of art purchased at auction that turns out to be counterfeit. Look magazine, December 10, 1968, Vol- ume 32, No. 25, "Fake," by Clifford Irving, page 46, describes how false authentication documents, signed by French pretended ex- perts, were used by the Paris dealer Fernand Legros to sell paintings to the Texas oilman, Algur H. Meadows, and other clients. In May 1967 Mr. Meadows was told by the Art Deal- ers Association of America that his $1 mil- lion collection of French post-impressionists works contained 44 forgeries. Documentation of the life in forgery of De Hory and his as- sociates is included. The book "Fake" by Clifford Irving is being published by McGraw-Hill Book Company. LESTER B. BRIDAHAM Denver, Colorado SIR: The Tampa Bay Art Center is seeking works by Hans Makart, the Viennese 19th century painter, in private and public collec- tions throughout the United States and Can- ada. Would your readership inform us of the whereabouts of any works, be they paintings or drawings, in preparation for an exhibition of this painter's works in North America? JAN VON ADLMANN Tampa Bay Art Center Tampa Fla. 33606 SIR: I am writing a book on Thomas Eakins, which will include a catalogue raisonn6 of his works. I would appreciate it if anyone who owns work by Eakins, with whom I have not already been in communication, would be kind enough to write me at the address below. This would be of great help in com- pleting the record of this leading American artist. LLOYD GOODRICH, Advisory Director Whitney Museum of American Art New York, N.Y. 10021 SIR: The University of Maryland Art Gallery is planning to organize an exhibition of the work of James Peale (1749-1831). I am also gathering material for a catalogue raisonn6 of his works: miniatures, portraits, historical paintings, landscapes, and still lifes. I would be pleased to receive information about the artist's work and any papers that might expand knowledge of his life. Photo- graphs with pertinent data concerning sub- ject, side, date, inscriptions, and provenance would be particularly appreciated. JEFFREY R. BROWN Art Gallery, University of Maryland College Park, 20742 SIR: Preparing a study on the French calligra- pher Joseph Bernard (1740-1809) the under- signed begs anybody who knows of portraits by him in U.S. collections to kindly write to: LUCIEN BIOT 23 ave. des Allids Charleroi, Belgium SIR: I am writing a dissertation on Arthur Wesley Dow and would be grateful for infor- mation about available material, especially manuscripts. FREDERICK C. MOFFATT 5220 So. Kenwood Avenue, Apt. 304 Chicago, Ilinois 60615 SIR: As part of a doctoral dissertation on the American painter, John Covert (1882-1960), I am preparing a catalogue raisonnd of his art, and would appreciate information on the location of his works in public and private collections. MICHAEL KLEIN, Department of Art History; and Archaeology, Columbia University FORMALITIES (On El Greco's The Burial of Count Orgaz) My eyes, like his, blur and warp What they see, elongating shapes So faces sallow, clothes turn black, And what might well be angels Mix with choirs of saints and Clouds-and death's head cherubs: Christ, dear Christ, is dwarfed, Stretched and faded far beyond Any human form or fold of cloth: It was no joke, that over deacon's head And grey monk's and black friar's, fires Burn, hidden-handed torches, Flambeaux like Pentecostal flame: Peter, limp at wrist, has Left his gate; none, save one, may Enter the brand-glow of bliss beyond. The King, alas, was elsewhere; Missing Christ then, Philip prepared Armadas of faith and fire, grace for A later meeting: Elizabeth and Orange Pavanned, Wycliff and Hus laughed from Hell. JAN MICHAEL DYROFF This content downloaded from on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 07:39:38 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspArticle Contentsp. 289Issue Table of ContentsArt Journal, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Spring, 1969), pp. 257-352Front Matter [pp. 257-351]Futurism, Unanimism and Apollinaire [pp. 258-268]Molzahn, Muche and the Weimar Bauhaus [pp. 269-277]Neo-Platonism and the New Sacristy Virgin and Child [pp. 278-279]The Swami and the Dragon: A Synthesis of Indian and Chinese Thought in Sung Paintings [pp. 280-285]Synthesis: The Artistic Theory of Fenollosa and Dow [pp. 286-287]Letters to the EditorVan Eyck's Chancellor Rolin and the Blessed Virgin [pp. 288-289]On Fakes in Art [p. 289]Letters to the Editor [p. 289]Formalities (On El Greco's The Burial of Count Orgaz) [Poem] [p. 289]The Aims of a University Art Department [pp. 290-291]Who Are the Tastemakers? [p. 291]The Krannert Art Museum [pp. 292-295]College Museum Notes [pp. 296-298+300+302+304+306+308+310+312+314+316+318+320+322]Al Held--Recent Paintings [pp. 322+324]Norman Lundin, Artist at Seattle [p. 326]College Art News [pp. 328+330+332+334+338]Book ReviewsReview: untitled [p. 340]Review: untitled [pp. 340+344]Review: untitled [p. 344]Review: untitled [pp. 344+346]Review: untitled [pp. 346+350]Books Received [pp. 350+352]Back Matter