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Noah Charney revealed the truth about the forgeries of works of art

Noah Charney, “Art forgeries. Opinions, motives and methods of the masters of forgery”. – M.: “Iskusstvo-XXI Vek”, 2018

The theme of the fakes are as old as the world. Or at least as a civilization. Quote from Petronius ‘ “the World wants to be deceived…” preceding the Preface and made the back cover of the book, in fact, it focuses. Noah Charney, an American art historian, known as the founder of the Association for research of crimes against art (ARCA) and as the author of several books about thefts from European museums (including the detective novel). His new work devoted to the forgeries of art and first published in 2015 by the English publisher Phaidon, however, is closer in genre to the detective investigation, and adventurous novel. In the spotlight – motives impelled artists to the crime, the methods and techniques they used. In fact, we have before us a book in which three interwoven documentary plot: the story of the famous masterpieces, the passion around them, and the history of the artists that they were trying to forge.


The book of Noah Charney – adventure novel with a detailed description of the methods and motives of those who forges art.

The author, by the way, always a pleasure to notice the difference between the counterfeit as well as from the usual copies made for educational or research purposes, and fake. Under the latter he means a change in existing art to increase the price. For example, the appearance of the signature on Aivazovsky seascape with a successful course of Affairs can guarantee the rise of the price in the sale.

The focus of Noah Charney history of fakes and forgeries “from Romulus to our days”. From the Roman copies of ancient Greek vases and sculptures, which are the sellers during the times of Petronius and August were willingly given for the Athenian, to counterfeit Christian relics, the authenticity of which originally was to be taken for granted. Try doubt – the Holy Inquisition immediately declared a heretic, and there and to a fire nearby. From the trial of Albrecht dürer against the Venetian Marcantonio Raimondi and the seller of his prints, repeating doserovski, to an international scandal in 2007 at the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg. There at the exhibition “Power after the death of the” show soldiers “terracotta army” from the tomb of a Chinese Emperor, found in 1974. But the hundred-odd figures of ancient warriors, as examination showed, was not 2200 years ago, but modern replicas of warriors from the tomb. The representative of the Bureau of cultural heritage of Shaanxi province in charge of all archaeological finds on the foreign exhibitions, claimed to have learned about this show from the news. Question, where did the “terracotta hundred” well done counterfeits, remained open…

Noah Charney has written a popular book, which with all the richness of historical and modern material is the vivid characters of the adventurers, pascalcase in all serious, risking their reputation and freedom. Some of them, like Eric Hebborn (1934-1996), who faked drawings of the old masters (if they are the preparatory sketches for famous paintings), making ink according to the recipes of the time of Rembrandt, using bird feathers and blank pages of old books, was able to hold of the experts of the largest museums. Self-assertion was the main focus. Others, like Tom Keating (1917-1984), have announced that forge works to protest against art dealers, and managed to become TV stars in old age.

About third, how about Elmira de Hori (1905-1976), wrote the novel and directed the film (not to anyone but himself Orson Welles)…