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When Folk Art is Revealed as a Fake

Will Demers from Antiques and the Arts Weekly describes a high-profile furniture fake that fooled all the experts and Colette Loll weighs in.

“I am not a specialist in furniture. I am, however, an expert on fakes, and I can tell you this does not surprise me one bit,” she said. “I have seen some very sophisticated fakes; especially when you combine a real craftsman with someone who has the time and inclination to do the proper art historical research that makes it plausible. Market excitement does the rest – especially if brought to the market by a reputable dealer.”

Loll, who helped organize the 2017 exhibition “Treasures on Trial: The Art and Science of Detecting Fakes” at Winterthur Museum, added that the real harm, beyond the financial victimization, is “the ability to distort the art historical record, especially when placed in prominent museum collections. This is a serious crime and, in my opinion, this fraudster should be in jail. This would provide the necessary deterrence the art market needs to see to prevent what has become a pervasive problem.”