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OUR COLUMNIST SCULPTURE STEPH GIVES HER OPINION ON THE US DECISION TO TRANSFER THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR FORGERIES TO THE BUYER (INSTEAD OF THE SELLER):

‘…it may mean a higher up take by private collectors, who either may view the cost of this investigation as an ‘administration’ fee only- or as part of the price he/ she/ they are willing to pay. Or it might deter many private investors and their overinflated offers, and allow a more measured market for galleries, museums and ‘normal people’ to acquire Art works.

It might shift the spotlight from the distracting financial value annotation to ‘authenticity’ to genuine valuation of aesthetics, skill, concept, expression, style, meaning, etc…for I assume the ‘art market investor/Treasure hunter’ would not view such a long winded process with the potential outcome that may prove it is not the ‘real thing’, as a quick or easy profit making strategy.

I don’t think it will put people off buying Art – rather than introducing a mechanism that demands a level of ‘responsibility’ in the buying and selling of Art. This responsibility will surely vary depending on the individual and either be ‘financial’ or ‘ethical’.
Either way, why wouldn’t you want to get proof that what you are intending to buy is what the seller claims it to be? Financially it makes sense to not pay over the value- and ethically you wouldn’t want to be complicit in a mechanism that operates outside an ethical framework.

For the seller, who is selling the ‘idea’ or the perceived ‘hype’ or ‘authenticity’ only- their ‘product’ in this set up, is likely to fall short on providing anything tangible that can be meaningfully assessed to establish it’s authenticity, and will either withdraw or find it difficult to get it authenticated (what may this mean for ‘Conceptual Art’ ?).

In a more realistically scenario than the semi wishful above- I do expect chaos in the process of defining what the actual ‘authenticity’ of the infinitely unique numbers of Art works may be (I like to claim there is none)- onto which legislative guidelines, rules, articles and ‘punishment’ (? what are or will be the consequences of the findings of these preliminary authentications?) can be translated into a general law that can be practically and effectively (and how do you measure ‘effectively’?) implemented?

My feeling is…since there is too much money to be made, there surely will be an emerging ‘industry’ of specialist lawyers, insurance companies, and corrupt ‘experts’ that will oversee, manage and deal with the ‘business of authenticity’.’