Is that a Whiteley? Why collectors buy lousy fakes as masterpieces

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Sasha Grishin

An obsession with names of artists, instead of the quality of the art is a key to the problem of fakes.

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One of the Whiteley canvases under dispute. Image via au.blouinartinfo.com

It was once famously reported that French painter Jean-Baptist-Camille Corot in his lifetime completed about 2,500 paintings of which 7,800 are now in American collections.

The gentle Corot did little to help his own cause and would obligingly sign fakes, made by needy artists, reasoning that if a collector was so ignorant as to accept such rubbish as an authentic Corot, he might at least have a real signature for his money.

About the author

Sasha Grishin is the Sir William Dobell Professor of Art History at the Australian National University.