Fakes of Damien Hirst's works

Not a big surprise. What is expensive is being faked, so why not Damien Hirst's works too. This time, a three-member New York group has been accused of selling counterfeits for more than $400,000. Among them, there is also previously accused Vincent Lopreto.
The "limited edition" of Hirst's prints was forged and sold online. The buyers were from all over the world. Of course, those faked prints were accompanied by false provenience documentation.
Fake certificates and false expert opinions of a low quality are a problem in the Czech Republic too!
It is worth reflection about the statement of a New York based art trader - Joseph Levene, who said that fake Hirst's prints were quite widespread on the Internet. Speaking to the Guardian, he said, "On eBay there are people who are dragged into counterfeit art because these people love being fooled by low prices." This statement reflects the human nature. Thanks to it, people are an infinite source of money for these fraudsters.
Another reason for reflection is an additional comment by Levene in which he said that the problem with counterfeits is not just on the Internet. "You can be fooled anywhere, it may not be just online." Hirst discovered his first counterfeit work at Venice Biennale in 2014.
Faking of a living author is also known in the Czech Republic. Professor Sopko could talk about it.
As it can be seen from the article, greed or fraudulent intentions do not involve only secular people but also the clerical ones.

A copy from Chinese Ta-Fen

April 8, 2016

As it was shown by a reporter of Czech Television on April 7th, 2015 at 7.45 pm (time 45:07) on the main news program, it is not a problem in China to order a copy of an artwork of a world-renowned artist. We can choose its proportions according to the area of empty space on the wall of the apartment. Prices are attractive of course. The way from an admitted copy to an unadmitted copy is short. Its transportation is also not a problem nowadays - it takes only few days to deliver the order to Europe. A market element enters the forgery business. A Chinese painter will surely have lower financial demands than a European one. This may cause a pressure on the quality of forgeries which will improve and experts will have harder times with assessment. It is possible that Czech forgers won’t be able to compete in such a competitive environment.

Omega x Ahmed Mater

April 8, 2016

Is it abuse or use of a work of art? Is it an attempt to dishonour an art work with religious significance? It is clear that the creator of the advertisement was inspired by the given art work. It will not be easy to find right answers and it is up to the court to decide, but they will probably come to an agreement. It is definitely interesting how art, even though it has a religious element, affects the commercial area. Currently, when communities are sensitive to their religious beliefs, it is like playing with fire when no one knows at what temperature comes the burning point. - Source 1 - Source 2


The film “Beltracchi - the art of forgery”

August 5, 2015

It hasn't been long since the forger named Betracchi was arrested and sentenced and now there is a film about him. The filming was possible due to a mild form of imprisonment. This issue is now widely discussed. The question that has to be answered is if such a punishment has any deterrent or disciplinary effects? Perhaps, it would be more convenient for the state and injured persons if such criminals would never have been sentenced at all. The article about the film asks most of the questions which arise around counterfeiting. But the most interesting thing is the attitude of auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's. They didn't give any opinion at all. However, without them the Beltracchi's perfect selling strategy couldn't work out well, in other words - without their bad work. There certainly will be those who might say that auction houses don't care about what they sell, that the most important thing is the provision they get.

The statement of sons of František Dvořák

August 5, 2015

Anyone who checked the website of the Auction House Procházka České Budějovice before the 44th auction was held on 28th February 2015, could find a statement of František Dvořák's sons on the main page. Based on the catalogue it appears that F. Dvořák made or participated in the large part of expertise. But after reading the statement one might have questions as: Why no one respected the health state and advanced age of the renowned expert? Was he abused? If yes, then how was he abused? How valuable is an expertise made by an expert whose health state didn't allow an objective expertise? Are those art works originals? And there can be even more questions. This situation introduces questions about the ethics of people requesting expertise. Here arises once again this unresolved problem concerning judicial experts and interpreters - a problem of the expertise of experts and their overall competences.

The statement says:
Enclosed certificates of authenticity were acquired from Prof. František Dvořák who has turned 93 years old at the moment, in times of his professional impropriety, when his health state didn't allow him to produce an objective expertise, which is why his name was excluded in connection with offered art works.

The statement of the auction house:
1. The auction house is not competent to analyse the health competence of particular specialists, judicial experts and experts.
2. PhDr. Jaromír Procházka and Ing. Světlana Procházková have never been in personal contact with Prof. František Dvořák.
3. The enclosed certificates of originality weren't ordered by the Auction house Procházka.

Dubious practices in Getty Museum

February 24, 2015

The former curator Marion True is certainly an example of a professional worker of an important museum who says one thing and does another. While insisting on purchases of objects with clear and legal provenance, she couldn't resist the opposite. The article shows how dangerous for memory institutions is the provenance forgery of those objects which shall be part of a collection. Probably the the only solution of this problem is to considerably restrict purchases of objects from risky regions and cultures. While on the contrary purchasing poorly examined but expensive objects increases crime rates. Nowadays the situation is even more complicated in view of large-scale conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa. The importance of databases of collections and looted objects appears to be more and more evident.

It is worth mentioning that Mrs. True had her hands in creation of a collection full of objects of a doubtful provenance even knowing that they will later end up in Getty. So this situation leads one to think that such „profesionally managed and high-quality" collections might contain looted or forged objects. Similar problem might also concern collections of Czech art, especially if objects are purchased from such „high-quality" collection.

Mrs. Marion True was also quite wrong in her relations with dealers. She obviously confused terms like corruption, clientelism, conflict of interests and her own profit. And what are the consequences of her activity? First of all it certainly harmed reputation of the Getty Museum and also stimulated the market dealing with looted and perhaps forged art.

The only hope is that similar practices won't develop in the Czech republic. But besides just hoping it wouldn't hurt to make a mandatory control from time to time.

Copy of a masterpiece in a british gallery

February 3, 2015

The conceptual artist Doug Fishbone ordered a copy of an original work in China and after an agreement with the direction of Dulwich Picture Gallery he made this copy a part of an exhibition. The gallery direction believes that it will raise a question of the importance and value of an original art work. One would say that those questions have been already answered but they probably think otherwise in Great Britain. They should read „Art and Fake" (Umění a falzum) written by Tomáš Kulka. The number of copies produced in China which is mentioned in the article is bewildering. And that number is only aproximate. Not every copy is going to be declared as a copy, many of them will be presented as originals, the real fakes.

Faked Sopko

February 3, 2015

The Czech magazine Týden has published an article saying that there is a genius seems to be running on all cylinders in the Czech republic counterfeiting paintings of professor Jiří Sopko. He is said to counterfeit paintings Vejce (An Egg) and Pyramida (A Pyramide). But if an art historian, familiar with professor Sopko's works, takes a look on these creations, he wouldn't find that it is a work of a genius. So it is really bewildering how those forgeries made their way to the auction house Galerie Art Praha. How is it possible that the direction of the gallery took forgeries to their auction? How did the gallery examine paintings and the owner who offered those paintings to the gallery? Why Mr. Neubert (gallery representative) didn't ask professor Sopko directly? Did Mr. Jaromír Zemina and other experts really see the paintings in question? If so, they could not be considered as good art experts which one may invite to help him with creation of a collection or to an investment of a greater amount of money.


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