A congress on art authentification

January 15 2013

Three Pipe Problem helpfully alerts me to an interesting planned conference on 'art authentification', to be held in 2014:

For quite a long time there has been a latent need within the international art community for a congress in which participants from different countries and from various professional backgrounds can meet one another to evaluate authenticity investigations and to exchange information about recent developments in the field.

The very first symposium on authentication issues ‘Authentication in the Visual Arts’ was held in Amsterdam on the 12th of March, 1977. Thirty-five years later the need for a new conference has become more eminent then ever before. It all seems to come together now: major changes forced by a new generation of thoroughly trained scholars, the economic boost on the value of paintings, a new generation of collectors with a strong focus on asset value, improved techniques for research and objective scientific research and, not least of all, the social and financial pressure coming from the law field as well as from the public.

During a meeting on May 25th 2012 a number of representative peers from the fields of art history, painting conservation, material sciences, the art market and the academic field of art and law came together in The Hague to discuss and review authentication developments and to sense the feasibility of a new congress. It was decided unanimously that a congress on the topic would be an absolute necessity. Further evaluation proved that the best time frame for organising such a congress would be May, 2014.

It seems quite a mysterious set up, with no invitation for papers. I've also looked in vain for the word connoisseurship. I wonder who is behind it? It looks from the supporters page that it's being led by technical art analysis groups. But remember, science can usually only tell you what a painting is not, not what it is.

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