How Experts Spot Forged Paintings

How Experts Spot Forged Paintings

Insane prices in the art market make art forgery a potentially high-profit business. So how do art buyers tell real undiscovered artworks from fakes? To analyse and identify forgeries, experts must apply their knowledge of art history, plus the science behind the materials and techniques of artists.

In the video below, forensic scientist Thiago Piwowarczyk and art historian Jeffrey Taylor show Wired how they identified a forgery of Jackson Pollack’s drip paintings (which are actually famously hard to forge).

The signs of a forgery can take many forms. The marks of the Pollack forgery include:

  • Factual errors in an accompanying document

  • Signs of painting techniques that don’t match Pollack’s style

  • A stapled canvas, uncommon during the period

  • Chemicals that indicate faked “ageing” of the canvas

That’s just a sample of the errors riddling this sloppy forgery. Watch the video to see what else Piwowarczyk and Taylor caught as they analysed the painting.

(via Kottke)


  • It’s Jackson PollOck by the way. And his art has interesting fractal properties – small areas of the canvas have similar amounts of detail and features to the paintings as a whole.

  • You should watch Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery

    A hugely talented artist who produced countless numbers of the world’s forgeries, 100’s of which are probably still in galleries and private collections, still assumed to be the real thing.

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