Fraud, counterfeit, forgery, copies and imitations of works of art, fraud, plagiarism, facsimile, deceit;
Forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents with the intent to deceive for the sake of altering the public perception, or to earn profit by selling the forged item. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations. Forging money or currency is more often called counterfeiting. But consumer goods may also be counterfeits if they are not manufactured or produced by the designated manufacture or producer given on the label or flagged by the trademark symbol. When the object forged is a record or document it is often called a false document.
This usage of “forgery” does not derive from metalwork done at a forge, but it has a parallel history. A sense of “to counterfeit” is already in the Anglo-French verb forger, meaning “falsify”.
A forgery is essentially concerned with a produced or altered object. Where the prime concern of a forgery is less focused on the object itself – what it is worth or what it “proves” – than on a tacit statement of criticism that is revealed by the reactions the object provokes in others, then the larger process is a hoax. In a hoax, a rumor or a genuine object planted in a concocted situation, may substitute for a forged physical object.

Expert assessments of the work of Diego Giacometti

One year younger than Alberto, Diego Giacometti distinguished himself by producing bronze furniture animated by figurines. His work, while in the same movement as that of his brother, is completely independent. From the 1950s, using potter’s clay, plaster or bronze, he gave life to a bestiary marked by poetic naivety, the humour of which, in the poses adopted by the small animals, in no manner neglected the elegance of the forms. Overloaded with work, Diego Giacometti did not keep any written registers, orally managing the numerous orders placed with him […]

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Fakes, a chronic virus in works of art

The author reveals the first results that he has obtained using a scanner to detect fake objects in the art world. Following an examination of painted wooden statues and tree rings (to determine growth), the author discusses new investigative methods: the identification of wood, reconstitutions and silver plating, the direction of metal inserts, observing the progression of xylophage insects and treatments, the study of how furniture is assembled, musical instruments, observing paintings and detecting restorations to vitreous glass. Revue Experts n° 11 – 06/1991 © Revue Experts   Often skilfully […]

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Expert reports on works of art: the dilemma of confidentiality or disclosure

The expert, between a rock and a hard place Expert reports on works of art are often carried out on personal property for the purposes of inheritances, insurance or in relation to fortunes. If private, they are clearly confidential. In civil proceedings, the court expert is bound by proceedings confidentiality, which is even more restrictive in criminal proceedings. Describing these various contexts, Gilles Perrault discusses the delicate position the expert finds himself in, subject to the contradictions and powerlessness imposed by such confidentiality. Article in the Revue Experts n°112, February 2014 […]

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The duties to inform and advise in art

Article in the Revue Experts n°114 of June 2014 On perusing this special edition on the duty to inform, readers will have understood that this obligation that a professional has towards his client, whether an individual, a company or a public entity, differs depending on the profession. It should first be remembered that such obligations are in fact only imposed on professionals: a private individual who sells one of his works of art is not subject to the duty to inform or advise. The obligation to inform appears in French law […]

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Improper conservation, restorations and alterations of furniture

The restoration of furniture as understood today is different to that practised in the previous century and even more different to that of the preceding centuries. Through a brief history, the author retraces the evolution in mentalities, its causes and consequences. La revue Experts n° 56 – 09/2002 © Revue Experts   The restoration of works of art has considerably changed over the second half of the 20th century. In relation to furniture, the subject of discussion in this article, the current rules help both the expert and the court […]

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Plaster sculptures: which are worth their weight in gold ?

On 9 February 2011 at Sotheby’s in London, a 75 cm plaster copy of the very famous Eve by August Rodin set the bidding on fire at £260,000 (€308,750). Six weeks later, at an art fair in Maastricht (the European Fine Art Foundation), a famous English art dealer reluctantly agreed to sell it for $2,000,000 (€1,420,000). Asking him what justified such a price, he answered that it was the original plaster from the master artist at the origin of all of the bronzes of this model! As such “it is […]

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Expert reports on modern and contemporary art

Expert modern and contemporary art reports often confront not only contrary opinions from heirs and rights-holders but sometimes even the artists themselves when they are mistaken in their authentication of works presented to them. This article provides a non-exhaustive summary of such difficulties and possible solutions. La Revue Experts No. 60 – 09/2003 © Revue Experts For the neophyte, this dripping appears to be that of the American precursor of the genre, Jackson Pollock, who died in 1956. Unfortunately for the owners of this recently discovered abstract work, its author […]

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The methods of scientific analysis used to assist expert reports on works of art and counterfeit

With the scientific analysis of works of art becoming more and more sought after, the author, after briefly referring to various specialized laboratories, explains how to find the most competent laboratory best able to analyse a work of art and raises the issue of the reliability of the analyses produced. He then sets out a brief history of scientific examinations and studies the various techniques used, which he summarizes in table form: examinations and analyses of surfaces, examinations and analyses of internal structures, dating methods. He ends his liberally illustrated […]

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The value of stamped furniture

Using three specific examples, the author retraces the history of stamps, including their counterfeits and detection. We also discover the Jasmin stamps, a commode by Bernard van Risen Burgh that is unfortunately in the United States and another Riesener that was able to be brought back from London to Versailles. La revue Experts n° 55 – 06/2002 © Revue Experts   Article 36 of the ‘new’ Community of Joiners and Cabinetmakers Law of 1743, in force only in 1751, provided that “each master cabinetmaker will be required to have his […]

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The detection of fakes in easel paintings

Fakes are becoming increasingly frequent towards the end of this century. The author has found 80% over all areas of art, a percentage that should be “decreased to reflect the national market which, depending on the sector, is approximately 50% because objects that are not contested by experts are not the subject of examination”. To illustrate this introduction, the authors present, by way of example, the detection of a fake Rembrandt, having successively studied the aspect, the frame, cracks, the signature and retouchings. They then examine copying and the science […]

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Counterfeits of the works of Diego Giacometti

The author reexamines the famous proceedings that principally related to counterfeits of the works of Diego Giacometti brought in the Besançon Court of Appeal in November 1998 and the still current repercussions of the case. Article de la Revue Experts n° 71, juin 2006 © Revue Experts On 15 July 1985, Diego Giacometti died of a cerebral embolism. Three days before, he had had a success cataract operation performed in Neuilly-sur-Seine that should have enabled him to again appreciate the details that make the difference between what is ordinary, what […]

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Expert reports on works of art in bronze

Bronzes are part of the French people’s ancestral patrimony. Many families own or have inherited items produced at the time of the great popularity for bronzes at the end of the previous century; museums are overflowing with well-known works and there are numerous, high-quality, art books dealing with famous sculptural artists. France has held and continues to hold a leading role in the world through its artists, foundry owners and its market. The transmission of estates, the eagerness of collectors and art amateurs, the quality and number of art galleries […]

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The regulations governing bronze sculptures

Beauty attracts jealousy and greed. Bronzes are a subject of predilection, where it is important to be able to distinguish original works from imitations and unlawfully cast bronzes. Article From Revue Experts n° 16 – 09/1992 © Revue Experts   Numerous cases occupying the headlines recently that involve imitation bronze sculptures has led me to again raise this subject so that colleagues and readers can be sufficiently informed to be able to make their own judgments. Bronze sculptures, sand cast from a mould or using the lost-wax process, are an […]

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