Thursday, July 29, 2010

SATOSHI on Fake or Copy Artworks

Well, remember my blog on the newly-discovered Caravaggio? The Vatican's top historian came out and stated that the newly found "Caravaggio" was mostly to be a mere copy of an original by a Caravaggio-influenced artist. But then, the painting will still be subjected to more testings.

The authenticity of an artwork is a very tricky aspect of arts. I personally am not so sure sometime whether I am getting an artwork for a good price or because I might be getting a copy.

One time, I was in Hanoi and visited a gallery. I found a nude painting I like and I tried to learn more about the painter. On the same day, I visited other galleries and found other paintings by the same artist, but of very different style. In fact, if not for the name of the painter and his picture on the bio-sheet, I wouldn't have thought that the two styles came from one same artist. The first one that I saw has very bold brushstrokes and the color tones were also quite bold. The body language was severe and disturbing. However, all the other nudes that I found in other galleries by this same artist have very soft pastel color tone and the body languages were demure.

I like both styles equally, thus it came down to price. Surprisingly, the first one I saw was significantly less costly than the rest, and because of this, I suddenly started to doubt its authenticity. To cut the long story short, I decided to get it anyway because I like it and also because it was less expensive. However it was what the gallery owner said when I ask whether it is authentic that really made me decide to get it... she said, "why would anybody copy his work? He is not even famous!"

True enough, there were a lot of other famous painters in Vietnam and most of their works are quite "pretty" and commercial, so why would any copyist make a copy of a disturbing severe nude painting?

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