The Museum of Fakes

Smithsonian Magazine has an article about the Museum of Fakes, located in southern Italy. (Thanks, Joe.) It's like a real-life Museum of Hoaxes, but devoted exclusively to art fakes. Thanks to a special arrangement with the Italian police, it has become the repository for all counterfeit works of art confiscated in Italy (and there are a lot of them). Its director, Salvatore Casillo, is a sociologist who has spent 20 years studying counterfeits. My favorite detail in the article:

Casillo says that counterfeiting is a group effort involving a chain of corruption that ends at the unscrupulous seller's door. He tells of an instance when the Carabinieri went to the home of a collector to recover a fake Schifano. The owner insisted his was the real thing because the artist had been present at the purchase. As proof he showed the police a picture of himself with the painting, shaking hands with the man he identified as Schifano, who turned out to be an impersonator hired by the corrupt art gallery owner.

Related link: The Museum of Forgery, "a virtual institute dedicated to promoting an appreciation of the aesthetics of forgery."


Posted on Wed May 21, 2008


Hmmm. When did this buyer meet "Schifano"? According to "ArtCyclopedia," Mario Schifano died in 1998 in Rome.

Unless, of course, his death was only faked to boost the prices of his paintings, so it was a fake fake Schifano (actually the real Schifano) whom the collector met.

Meanwhile, if you want to buy a Van Gogh I have in my attic, I can arrange to have Vincent Van Gogh meet you and personally authenticate it.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Wed May 21, 2008  at  05:26 PM
Museum of Dubious Claims Regarding Male Enhancement Made At Bars While Trying To Impress Women... I'm the curator, no ticket needed
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Wed May 21, 2008  at  05:53 PM
Fucking amateurs. I can get you a Vincent Van Gogh by 3 o'clock this afternoon... with nail polish.
Posted by outeast  on  Fri May 23, 2008  at  06:44 AM
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