So You Think You Can Fake a Vermeer?

Jun 13, 2013

In the world of forgery, the notion that it takes a thief to catch a thief gets a little dicey. Forgers tend to be incredibly skilled and talented artists. They pretty much have to be, right?Many of them learn their craft in the back rooms of museums as restoration specialists and many of then have attempted to be successful artists in their own right.  Ironically, the people entrusted with catching them often have much more problematic credentials and skill sets. For centuries, the whole business of authentication rested on the notion of connoisseurship, and the connoisseurs themselves often insisted that they "just knew" a certain thing. (I guess that's what a connoisseur is, come to think of it.) In the last 100 years, there's been an effort to "scientificize" the process, but it's had mixed results. We'll talk about the world of forgeries today and ask: "Is the act of forgery itself a work of art?" You can join the conversation. E-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.