Barbara Guggenheim gets in to the authentication board debate in the New York Observer excerpt of her new book. She goes over all the obvious problems with authentication, that even the foundations and libraries can be rigged. But Guggenheim also reminds us of the overall accumulation of attribution—much of it surely hopeful more than deceitful—that builds up around a famous artist:
The Rembrandt Research Project just closed after 42 years, in which they demoted hundreds of works. One poor museum in Copenhagen that started the 20th century with 10 Rembrandts ended up with only one. As Seymour Slive, a Rembrandt scholar, quipped, “One more meeting of the Rembrandt Research Project and the artist will cease to exist.” Yet its activities, then, or its recent attempt to reattribute paintings to the artist they had rejected, hasn’t hurt the Rembrandt market.
Tintoretto is another artist whose work has been recently reassessed. Of the 468 works subjected to the study, 148 have been demoted (ouch!) and 16 works thought not to be Tintorettos have been elevated. And the scholars, Frederick Ilchman and Robert Echols, haven’t even gotten to the portraits yet.
Exit the Deciders (GalleristNY)