Languages
Page last updated at 14:31 GMT, Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Fake art stars in New York show

By Matthew Wells
BBC News, New York

Sculpture of Hercules
This sculpture of Hercules is real, and dates from 300-500 AD

An exhibition which has opened in New York takes the unlikely step of placing fake works of art on display.

The Brooklyn Museum, like many others, began buying ancient Coptic and Pagan sculptures after World War II.

However, the museum's curators recently discovered that roughly a third of their collection is fake.

The resulting exhibition places genuine sculptures from the 4th Century AD alongside a small group of forgeries, probably from the mid-20th Century.

Experts say there is no way of knowing exactly who carved the limestone fakes, though one theory suggests they may have been produced by prisoners-of-war in Egypt.

Coptic and Pagan sculpture flooded the Western art market after World War II.

Edna Russmann, curator in charge of the exhibition - entitled Unearthing The Truth - hopes it will prompt galleries to examine their own collections more thoroughly.

"I know that other museums have fakes, (in) all kinds of fields and all kinds of subjects," she said.

Some of the fakes are easy to spot, but others display a high level of craftsmanship. Set among them are genuine works that have been touched up or re-carved.

The forgeries place a greater emphasis on Christian iconography than many of the real works - a sign, say experts, of them being made to order for European and North American buyers.

The exhibition continues at the Brooklyn Museum until early May.

Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Disputed Picasso works stay in NY
03 Feb 09 |  Arts & Culture
Lion sculpture gets record price
06 Dec 07 |  Middle East
Prankster infiltrates NY museums
25 Mar 05 |  Americas

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific