The Expert versus the Object: Judging Fakes and False Attributions in the Visual Arts by Ronald D. SpencerThe Expert versus the Object: Judging Fakes and False Attributions in the Visual Arts by Ronald D. Spencer

The Expert versus the Object: Judging Fakes and False Attributions in the Visual Arts

EditorRonald D. SpencerForeword byEugene Victor Thaw

Hardcover | May 6, 2004

Pricing and Purchase Info

$44.61 online 
$64.95 list price save 31%
Earn 223 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-3 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


The authenticity of visual art has always commanded the attention of experts, dealers, collectors, and the art-minded public. Is it "real" or "original" is a way of asking what am I buying? What do I own? What am I looking at? And today more sophisticated questions are being asked: How isauthenticity determined and what weight does this determination have in court? This book of essays proposes to answer those questions. Three lines of inquiry are basic to determining authenticity: a connoisseur's evaluation, historical documentation or provenance, and scientific testing. A connoisseur is an expert who evaluates the "rightness" of a work based on much careful scrutiny of many works by an artist and familiarity withthat artist's usual manner of working with materials. In determining provenance, a researcher traces the physical object from the artist through a chain of ownership to the present owner--simple enough in concept, though it assumes that the documentation is not faked or inaccurate. The goal is toensure that the object is the same one that left the artist's hand. Scientific testing, although sometimes useful, is often longer on promise than result. Dating paint or wood samples, for instance, can show that a painting was made in Rembrandt's lifetime, but it cannot prove that it is byRembrandt's hand. If expert opinion is divided, and large sums of money are involved, a dispute over authenticity may end up in a court of law, where evaluation of expert opinion evidence can be problematic. The essays in this book clarify the nature of the methods outlined above and explain, based on case law, the present status of authentication issues in court. Contributors include experts from Christie's, London; Sotheby's, New York; and the former director of the Frick Collection; as well asleading art historians and art dealers; an art conservator; a forensic graphologist; a philanthropist and collector; and a specialist in French art law. Their collective knowledge on issues of authenticity will be invaluable for anyone interested in the world of visual art.
Ronald D. Spencer is counsel to the New York City law firm of Carter Ledyard and Milburn LLP where he specializes in art law and foundation law. He is expert in the legal aspects of art authentication issues, advises several committees and boards of art authentication experts, and has helped defend legal claims involving decisions on a...
Title:The Expert versus the Object: Judging Fakes and False Attributions in the Visual ArtsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:268 pages, 6.42 × 9.09 × 1.1 inPublished:May 6, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195147359

ISBN - 13:9780195147353

Look for similar items by category:


Editorial Reviews

"A thorough and highly readable exposition of the processes involved in authenticating and attributing works of art and the issues they pose in varied aspects of the art world. Eloquently addressing the legal complications which can inhibit the expression of expert opinions, this book willfurther a better understanding of how such challenges should be weighed in our courts, as well as in our minds."--Richard E. Oldenburg, Honorary Chairman, Sotheby's, North and South America, and Director Emeritus, The Museum of Modern Art, New York