The Economist has an article about art forgery and makes the pithy point that art is far from inimitable. In fact, it is extremely imitable!
There have been numerous and notorious cases of unknown artists faking their well known counterparts with the art "experts" being none the wiser. Art forgeries that are so good that it can be almost impossiblle to tell the real from the fake. The latest case is in New York and concerns an art dealer buying fakes of Rothko, Pollock and others, and selling them on for millions. Everyone fooled.
The Economist mentions such expensive art works as being "positional goods" :
.. things that are valuable largely because other people can't have them. The painting on the wall, or the sculpture in the garden, is intended to say as much about its owner’s bank balance as about his taste. With most kit a higher price reduces demand. But art, sports cars and fine wine invert the laws of economics.
Why is an almost exact copy of a great piece of art worth so much less to someone? Why is the original, even when it can hardly be told from the fake worth so much more? Hard questions for the art world here, rather like those hard questions asked of the expert wine tasters a while ago.
And just as I was going to "publish" the post, I am reminded about the recent discovery that this old fake Van Gogh, is not a fake at all! Supposedly. So the experts say ...
Mall Art Shows
I visited the Mall Galleries at the weekend and took a look at the shows they have on.
This was a small exhibition on still lives ("Still Alive: Contemporary still life painting"), the Sunday Times Watercolour exhibition and the Derwent Art Prize show (drawings). Lots to see, some very good. It's been a while since I last visited and it's well worth it, and also free.
The Galton oil painting was shown as part of Still Alive.
Shown in the Watercolour exhibition.