2016 Art Taipei Forum x Art & Authentication

The Origin of Paintings

The idea for a foundation concerned with the authenticity of art focused on paintings arose in 2010, during meetings between Prof Dr Rudi Ekkart, the former director of the Netherlands Institute for Art History, and Milko den Leeuw, director of the Atelier for Restoration & Research of Painting in The Netherlands. The necessity for such a foundation had become more and more evident by the increasing number of cases involving forgeries, misattributions and identification swaps. For over six years now, the Authentication in Art (AiA) Foundation has worked on improving research and cooperation concerning the authenticity of paintings, ranking from ancient times till contemporary. We are honored to have Milko den LEEUW as our speaker, who will reflect on the past six years of AiA, as well as look to the future.

【Technical Art History】

The Procedure for Establishing the Scientific Resume of the Artwork and its Application

In order to conserve cultural artifacts and artwork in their original state, artifact conservation work has entered the era of non-destructive examination (NDE). As the subject of analysis broadens from only damaged artwork requiring restoration to pieces in adequate condition, the scientific research and development of artwork has also transitioned from artwork conservation-restoration into the field of art science biography construction and authentication with non-destructive examination methods as the major approach. There are different scopes for different methods when establishing scientific authentication procedures for cultural artifacts and artwork, but when all the information is linked, they can be provided for use in conservation-restoration, constructing biographies, differentiating authentications, the creative process, and can also be used to define the authentication process for cultural artifacts and artwork. This event has the honor of having Dr. Han-Chung WU from the Cheng Siu University Conservation Center as our main speaker. Dr. Wu will be drawing from his experience to share with the audience the development of artwork authentication, its meaning, and the changes and situation of its practical application.

The Conservation Science and Restoration Ethics of Artwork

Artwork is an important asset that witnesses the passing on of civilization. In addition to the aesthetic value it carries, it also embodies the tangible and intangible cultural history of the current era. Hence, we are dedicated to the conservation of artwork so it may also be enjoyed by future generations. Inevitably, there is a possibility that artwork may naturally deteriorate. If such a situation arises, advanced technology is needed for conservation and restoration. The practice of artwork conservation and restoration started as early as the Renaissance. But it wasn’t until after the 19th century when a more systematic approach of conservation and restoration was employed on these cultural assets. 19th-century Europe started to combine art and science in order to obtain information on what materials were used and other relevant information, and also research on the most appropriate conservation methods. In addition to the gradual development of artwork restoration ethics, experts forayed into the realm of artwork restoration during the 50’s and 60’s. Research was conducted on the types of materials used on the original artwork so restoration experts could use elements that were able to recreate the appearance of the artwork, but were also not harmful and reversible. The combined power of art and science was able to restore or elevate the value of artwork. As the medium of artwork are varied, the corresponding restoration methods and guidelines also vary. We are honored to be able to invite Director I-Chen LI from the Cheng Siu University Conservation Center, oil painting conservator Ioseba Imanol Soraluze Herrera, Ms. Chien-Hua LU, paper conservator Ms. Chun-Shan TAI, and vessel conservator Ms. Yi-Tsen CHEN. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Han-Chung WU and it will combine expert insight across all artwork mediums that are jointly dedicated to conserving tangible artwork and intangible cultural value.

【Art & Law】

Legal Issues Stemming from Artwork Authenticity Cases

Currently, there is no artwork authentication mechanism in Taiwan. Artwork authenticity certification is usually provided by the seller. But guarantee of authenticity and evidence to prove that are all key issues. An authentication document requires expert (someone who is familiar with the artist’s style and materials used) review, material review, literature, and other data as supplementary evidence for authentication use. But in Taiwan (and also many other countries), there is no standard procedure for issuing an authenticity certification. As long as the issuer believes themselves to be an industry insider, they can issue an authenticity certification. Being an “industry insider” does not require any special training, background, or certification. These experts may be art historians, conservators, scientific reviewers, family members, proxies, or “connoisseurs”. Different experts employ different methods. So if there are any authenticity doubts which bring about disputes between buyer and seller and legal action must be taken, many questions will arise. For example: what evidence will hold up in court? And from the past few cases in Taiwan, many art experts were not willing to testify. If they testify, will their names and authentication methods be made public? There are still many questions between art and the law that need to be clarified. Director Ping LIN of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Chia-Ying LIN, partner at Tomodachi Attorneys-at-Law, and Dr. Chieh-Hsiang WU from the Department of Fine Arts at National Changhua University of Education will come together to explore the different issues when art and the law collide.


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