The Art Newspaper has provoked more interest in the market for Greek art today than has been seen in a decade of the Greek art boom and bust with their story on the court case alleging a market filled with fakes. Collector Diamantis Diamantides is suing Sotheby’s over the sale of two works but the story suggests a wider and deeper problem:
“It’s a huge deal that one of these cases has finally come to court,” says one collector, who bought a fake painting purportedly by Parthenis in 1997, and has been offered more since. “We are not like the UK and the US, people don’t talk about the issue here—there’s a general lack of trust in justice and new buyers don’t want to highlight their naiveté and mistakes,” he says, before adding that he wishes to remain anonymous.
A further problem that has emerged as part of the Diamantides case is the lack of institutions studying Greek artists, developing catalogues raisonnés and discussing the authentication and provenance of art made in Greece. While works have to be assessed for national significance by the National Gallery in Athens before export licences are issued, the process does not involve authentication. Dealers are concerned that the National Gallery’s stamp on works is being used as provenance.
It’s hard to read the story without coming to two separate conclusions. The first is that this case shows once again that the art market’s greatest vulnerability lies in its lack of a bedrock in scholarship. The second is that the liquidity provided by forgeries might have been behind the rise in the Greek market in the first place.
Fears grow that Greek art market is riddled with forgeries (The Art Newspaper)