Art imitates life. This is a fact that most of us could easily agree with – but what happens when art gets to imitate art? It is not some emerging cheesy art deco subgenre we are talking about, but rather, those phony art pieces posing as authentic rare art. If you are an art enthusiast and constantly scouring for some pieces to buy, you might want to keep reading on. A ton of con-artists are on the prowl to rip you off of your hard-earned money.
As most rare art pieces could go for a hefty sum of money, they often fall victim to forgeries. Common types of this fraud involve falsification of the “provenance”. An art provenance is a documentation that comes with the artwork to prove its authenticity. It shows the complete description of the work from the title (if known), the medium used, and even ownership history which sometimes date back to the period of its original creator. A provenance practically serves as the artwork’s “birth certificate”. Be it an art deco piece or a Warhol creation, a provenance is the art collector’s first line of defense against fraudulent dealers.
Unscrupulous art dealers sometimes use photocopied certificates and other documents and pass them off as provenance. This should raise some red flags to the would-be buyer because although provenance can take many forms, photocopied materials are too easy to be tampered with. Recently, the market was flooded with fake antique art deco jugs that duped even the most experienced appraisers. The lesson here is unless certified by a reputable art gallery, enthusiasts especially art deco collectors should be extra-careful when confronted with this potential scam tactic.
Still, the easiest way to avoid falling victim is by doing some research on a particular artwork you are intending to buy. For example, if you are unsure of a certain painting’s authenticity, try looking up some galleries that specialize in dealing with this particular art genre. There are a multitude of sources that could help you – and with the advent of the internet, finding out more about the artwork that you are intending to purchase would not be that hard.
The prevalence of these knock-offs proves that rare art has managed to preserve its relevance until today. The history embedded in these rare artworks show not only the artist’s perception of the world at the time he created the piece, but also his passion for turning shapes and lines into emotions of color.