2014年1月3日 星期五

藝術偽作價值連城So Valuable, It Could Almost Be Real


So Valuable, It Could Almost Be Real

January 03, 2014


“Intent to Deceive,” a forthcoming exhibition at Springfield Museums, in Massachusetts, explores the mystique of forgeries and fakes that duped the art world.Elmyr de Hory’s 1974 “Odalisque” mimics Matisse.
Collection of Mark Forgy
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A personal escort — flying first class to be well rested and alert — will accompany the painting “The Head of Christ” from the moment it leaves the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, until it is safely locked in the vault at Springfield Museums in Massachusetts this month, when it will be exhibited in the United States for the first time.
A 24-hour escort is not an unusual requirement for valuable international museum loans. What makes the security arrangements — estimated to cost more than $31,000 — notable in this case is that the painting is a fake.
And it is not just any fake, but an imitation Vermeer by the most notorious forger of all: Han van Meegeren, the World War II-era painter whose counterfeits were so convincing that, after the war, he had to create one for witnesses to avoid harsh punishment for selling a national treasure to the Nazi leader Hermann Göring.
Clearly, some forgeries are more equal than others. In New York, buyers of some of the dozens of multimillion-dollar fakes sold through the Knoedler & Company gallery, now shuttered, have filed lawsuits, complaining that their vaunted Modern masterpieces are now “worthless.”
But the Boijmans loan, “The Head of Christ,” and other famous fakes with which it is being exhibited in a traveling show retain a valuable mystique. “They’re not original artworks, but they’re so prestigious that they require the same security measures as an authentic work,” said Julia Courtney, Springfield Museums’ curator of art.
Citing security concerns, the lending and borrowing museums all declined to reveal the works’ estimated worth or insurance information. But the paintings are being treated like the real thing. “The requirements for security are not different than other works we give on loan,” said Friso Lammertse, the curator of old master paintings at the Boijmans. Never mind that the accustomed home of “The Head of Christ” is a Boijmans storage room.
So, in addition to a personal escort, van Meegeren’s “Christ,” for example, will have an outside conservator scrutinize every inch of the canvas and frame when it leaves a museum and after it arrives, to report on its condition.
“The Head of Christ” is part of the exhibition “Intent to Deceive: Fakes and Forgeries in the Art World,” which includes two other van Meegerens, “The Girl With the Blue Bow,” once credited to Vermeer, from the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, N.Y., and “The Procuress,” from the Courtauld Gallery in London.
The show will travel to the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Fla.; the Canton Museum of Art in Ohio; and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Other forgeries in the show are by celebrated con men like Elmyr de Hory, a Hungarian who said he sold a thousand fakes; John Myatt, whose collaborator infiltrated archives at the Tate Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, to plant fake provenance documents; and Mark A. Landis, a former gallery owner who dressed as a Jesuit priest during the quarter-century he spent trying to donate his forgeries to more than 40 American museums.
What links these men, said Colette Loll, the exhibition’s curator and an art investigator, are “frustrated artistic ambitions, chaotic personal lives and a contempt for the art market and its experts.”
Ms. Loll, who organized the exhibition with the nonprofit group International Arts & Artists, said she was shocked when she heard the $31,000 estimate for the security arrangements demanded by just the Boijmans.
That sum is close to the $39,500 that “Christ and the Scribes in the Temple” — the painting van Meegeren created in 1945 to prove he was a forger rather than a collaborator — fetched at Christie’s auction house in 1996.
Forgeries invariably raise knotty questions about the value of art and faith in the market, and fuel cynicism about art experts.
In November, a spirited debate about the value of forgeries played out on the website and pages of The New York Times after the art critic Blake Gopnik declared that forgers could be “an art lover’s friend.”
And last year, Jonathon Keats, who wrote “Forged: Why Fakes Are the Great Art of Our Age,” argued that “forgeries are more real than the real artworks they fake” because “they genuinely manipulate society rather than merely illustrating alternate points of view.”
Interest in counterfeits may have less lofty roots, however. Everybody loves a juicy scandal. The van Meegerens can also draw on the continuing fascination with World War II and the Nazis’ looting of Europe. Hailed as a kind of folk hero during his 1947 trial for having duped Göring, van Meegeren was later shown to be a Nazi sympathizer and inveterate rogue who swindled buyers out of the equivalent of $106 million.
One of his facsimiles, “The Supper at Emmaus,” cited by the dean of Vermeer scholars as a, perhaps the, “masterpiece of Johannes Vermeer” was bought in 1938 by the Rembrandt Society of Rotterdam for the Boijmans for 520,000 guilders, the equivalent of about $6.4 million today. “The Head of Christ,” sold for 475,000 guilders in 1941 ($4.4 million today), was thought to be a study for “The Supper at Emmaus.”
Part of the enduring lure of the van Meegerens, undoubtedly, is the satisfaction of knowing that the most rarefied connoisseurs were duped by what now look to be ham-handed fakes.
As Jonathan Lopez wrote in his 2008 book about van Meegeren, “The Man Who Made Vermeers,” “Although the best forgeries may mimic the style of a long-dead artist, they tend to reflect the taste and attitudes of their own period.” Biblical scenes tapped into a sentimental and pastoral Germanic tradition, he notes, while the portraits of girls resembled 1920s flappers.
The works in “Intent to Deceive” are less art than artifacts; they have genuine historical significance. In that sense, these fakes underscore the persistent appeal of the real thing. Copies of a van Meegeren fake would not command such costly security precautions or draw visitors.
“The Head of Christ” and its traveling companions are being exhibited precisely because they are authentic — authentic forgeries.


Collection of Mark Forgy
《基督之首》(The Head of Christ)一離開荷蘭鹿特丹的博伊曼斯-凡伯寧根(Boijmans Van Beuningen)博物館,就會有專人開始護送。為了確保護送人員能得到良好的休息,並保持警覺,此人會坐頭等艙。直到這幅畫這個月安全地鎖在馬薩諸塞 州春田博物館(Springfield Museums)的保險庫里,護送工作才算結束。本月,這幅畫將首次在美國展出。
它並不是一副普通的偽作,而是有史以來最臭名昭著的偽畫製造者漢· 凡米格倫(Han van Meegeren)臨摹的維米爾(Vermeer)作品。凡米格倫是二戰時期的畫家,其偽作十分逼真,以至於在戰後不得不面對證人創作一幅,才得以擺脫向 納粹領袖赫爾曼·戈林(Hermann Göring)出售國寶的嚴厲懲罰。
顯然,一些贗品相對其他贗品得到了更平等的待遇。在紐約,一些藏家通過諾德勒畫廊(Knoedler & Company)購得了數十件售價高達幾百萬美元的偽作,這些買主已經提起訴訟,稱他們本以為價值連城的現代藝術傑作現在「一錢不值」了。諾德勒畫廊已經關張大吉。
但是博伊曼斯博物館借出的《基督之首》,以及與它在巡展中共同陳列的其他幾幅著名偽作,仍然有着極具價值的神秘氣息。春田博物館藝術部主任朱莉亞·科特尼(Julia Courtney)說,「它們不是原創作品,但由於如此有聲望,因而需要給予像真跡一樣的安保措施。」
出於安全考慮,借出和借入的博物館都拒絕透露作品的估值或保險信 息。然而這些畫作完全被當做了真跡對待。博伊曼斯博物館負責藝術大師舊作的策展人弗里索·拉梅策(Friso Lammertse)說,「安保要求與我們借出的其他作品沒有差別。」儘管《基督之首》經常所處的位置是博伊曼斯博物館的一間儲藏室。
這場題為「欺騙的意圖:藝術世界的偽作和贗品」(Intent to Deceive: Fakes and Forgeries in the Art World)的展覽中,收入了《基督之首》和另外兩幅凡米格倫作品—— 來自紐約州格倫瀑布市海德藏館(Hyde Collection)的《戴藍色蝴蝶結的少女》(The Girl With the Blue Bow),這幅畫曾被歸為維米爾作品;以及來自倫敦考陶爾德畫廊(Courtauld Gallery)的《老鴇》(The Procuress)。
巡展還將在佛羅里達州薩拉索塔的瑞格林藝術博物館 (Ringling Museum of Art)、俄亥俄州的坎頓美術館(Canton Museum of Art)、俄克拉何馬市立美術館(Oklahoma City Museum of Art)展覽。展覽中的其他偽作則出自一些著名騙子之手,包括艾米爾·德霍瑞(Elmyr de Hory),他是匈牙利人,自稱售出了一千幅偽作;約翰·邁亞特(John Myatt),他的同謀滲透進了泰特美術館(Tate Gallery)、維多利亞與艾爾伯特博物館(Victoria and Albert Museum)、倫敦的當代藝術中心(Institute of Contemporary Arts)的檔案館,放入偽造的來歷證明文件;以及馬克·A·蘭蒂斯(Mark A. Landis),此人曾是一名畫廊主,在過去四分之一個世紀的時間裡,他假扮成耶穌會牧師,試圖將自己的贗品捐贈給美國40多家博物館。
科萊特·羅爾(Colette Loll)是此次展覽的策展人,她也從事藝術品調查。羅爾說,這些人之間的共同之處在於「藝術志向受挫、個人生活混亂、蔑視現代藝術市場和專家」。
這次展覽是羅爾與非營利團體國際藝術及藝術家協會(International Arts & Artists)共同組織的。她說,在得知單單博伊曼斯博物館要求的安保措施,估計花費就高達3.1萬美元時,她很震驚。
這個金額接近1996年凡米格倫畫的《神殿里的基督和記錄員》 (Christ and the Scribes in the Temple)在佳士得拍賣行(Christie』s)拍出的價格3.95萬美元。凡米格倫在1945年繪製這幅畫是為了證明自己只是一個作偽者,而不是 通敵犯。
去年11月,藝術批評家布萊克·戈普尼克(Blake Gopnik)在《紐約時報》撰文稱,作偽者可能是「藝術愛好者的朋友」,之後《紐約時報》的網站和報紙上,圍繞偽作的價值發生了一場激烈的辯論。
去年,著有《作偽:為何贗品是當今時代的偉大藝術》 (Forged: Why Fakes Are the Great Art of Our Age)一書的喬納森·濟慈(Jonathon Keats)寫道,「偽作比它們模仿的真跡,更真實」,因為「它們真正在操縱社會,而不是僅僅在描繪不同的視角」。
不過人們對偽作的興趣並不都是出於崇高的目的,所有人都喜愛鮮活的 醜聞。這些凡米格倫的畫作,也可以藉助人們對二戰和納粹劫掠歐洲的持續興趣而吸引關注。在1947年的審判中,凡米格倫因為矇騙了戈林,而被譽為某種民族 英雄,但之後人們卻發現他同情納粹,而且死性難改地欺騙買家,詐取了約1.06億美元。
凡米格倫複製的《以馬忤斯的晚餐》(The Supper at Emmaus),被最資深的維米爾專家稱為「約翰尼斯·維米爾(Johannes Vermeer)的一幅傑作」,甚至是最出色的傑作。鹿特丹倫勃朗協會(Rembrandt Society of Rotterdam)在1938年以52萬荷蘭盾的價格(相當於現在的640萬美元),替博伊曼斯博物館買下。《基督之首》在1941年以47.5萬荷蘭 盾的價格售出,相當於現在的440萬美元,這幅畫被認為是《以馬忤斯的晚餐》的習作。
喬納森·洛佩茲(Jonathan Lopez)在2008年出版的關於凡米格倫的書《不存在的維米爾》(The Man Who Made Vermeers)中寫道,「儘管最棒的作偽者能夠模仿已經去世很久的藝術家的風格,但他們常常會反映出自己所在時期的品味和態度。」他寫道,聖經的場景 中融入了情感充沛、有傳教意味的日爾曼傳統,而他的畫作中出現的女子則酷似20世紀20年代的時髦女郎。