The Age gives some space to Karen Abidi, an intellectual property lawyer, who thinks a judge’s recent decision to give some fakes to the injured artists to be destroyed is true justice:
This was the right decision. Artists have a valid and genuine interest, both ethical and commercial, to be able to prevent artworks falsely purporting to be theirs from remaining in the market.
Artists now have some legal backing when they seek to stop the trade in work masquerading as their art. Also, the public needs to have confidence and trust in the art market. The decision sends a strong message to art dealers, valuers, galleries and auction houses that the law can do something when fake art is valued and sold as genuine.
The art world must not turn a blind eye to works of questionable provenance, and great care must be taken when valuing art to ensure confidence in its authenticity.
Fake art has been around throughout history and, while the court decision is a positive one, the problem will not go away any time soon.
Although this is a rare case to have come to the courts, in Australia fake art is said to represent 10 per cent of the market. Many other famous Australian artists, such as Streeton, Drysdale and Whiteley, have been faked. The faking of indigenous art is a real and complex issue, and there have been recent successful legal actions over this.