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Faking Galileo

Art forgeries have long been the stuff of thrillers, with fake da Vincis or Vermeers fooling connoisseurs, roiling the art world, and moving millions of dollars. We don’t think of ancient books driving such grand forgery, intrigue, and schadenfreude. This is changing thanks in part to a clever forgery of Galileo’s landmark book Sidereus Nuncius, published in Venice in 1610. Arguably one of the most extraordinary scientific publications of all times, Sidereus Nuncius turned Galileo into the brightest new star of Western science. Four centuries later, a faked copy of this book has disarmed a generation of Galileo experts, and raised a host of intriguing questions about the social nature of scholarly authentication, the precariousness of truth, and the revelatory power of fakes.
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jul 9, 2014 - 9 comments

Inside the world of legal art forgery, for the sake of movies

Why This Movie Perfectly Re-Created a Picasso, Destroyed It, and Mailed the Evidence to Picasso’s Estate.
posted by Chrysostom on Apr 28, 2014 - 10 comments

The Missing Borges

The Missing Borges "Seven years ago, a stolen first edition of Borges’s early poems was returned to Argentina’s National Library. But was it the right copy?"
posted by dhruva on Apr 21, 2014 - 29 comments

Catch Me If You Can: Real Estate Edition

Ryan Mullen was on the run for over 14 years. Then, a professional skip tracer named Michelle Gomez got on the case.
posted by reenum on Dec 29, 2013 - 20 comments

The dark side of the moon

When it first surfaced in 2005, it was hailed as 'the most important Galileo find in more than a century'. Then, in June 2012, news broke on the Ex Libris mailing list that the unique 'proof copy' of Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius containing his original drawings of the Moon was in fact a highly sophisticated forgery. The full story is still unclear, but the finger of suspicion points at Marino Massimo de Caro, who in his brief reign as director of the Girolamini Library in Naples removed thousands of rare books in what has been described as a 'premeditated, organised and brutal' sacking of the library. Meanwhile, experts are still marvelling at the quality of the forgery: "We’ve seen missing pages replaced in facsimile, but no one dreamed that an entire book could be forged, something that is now more easily possible because of modern technology."
posted by verstegan on Apr 4, 2013 - 12 comments

The man who took out Victor Brauner´s eye

Oscar Dominguez is probably best known for the Electro Sexual Sewing Machine.
He was a surrealist (Fr) and a forger (pdf).
When a fight broke out between Oscar Dominguez and Esteban Frances, it was Victor Brauner who stepped in to separate them, Dominguez accidentally struck him in the face with a bottle. The injury cost Brauner his left eye, an event that Brauner had forseen.
Dominguez updated the technique known as Decalmania.
His last lover was the heiress Marie-Laure de Noailles and during this time he replaced some of her Picasso´s with forgeries painted by himself, selling the originals. He is also suspected of forging Klee, Ledger and Laurens.
He slit his wrists one New years Eve and Janet Flanner churlishly conjectured that he “lay down on the floor, being a dirty, untidy man…and bled all over everything”.
posted by adamvasco on Nov 27, 2012 - 7 comments

Dup Leppard

Rock band Def Leppard has decided upon a unique solution to the problem of making their music available for electronic distribution despite conflicts with Universal Music Group: Re-record their entire back catalog as accurately as possible. They're calling the songs 'forgeries.'
posted by LastOfHisKind on Jul 5, 2012 - 150 comments

“Buy my art . . . or I’ll kick your ass.”

Sponge-Fraud!: 'Artist Todd White seemingly had it all. With a multi-million-dollar art brand, collectors and clients ranging from Sylvester Stallone to Coca-Cola, and a burgeoning reputation in art-mad Britain, his days as lead character designer of SpongeBob SquarePants were but a distant memory. But, as David Kushner reports, when his confidante and gallerist Peggy Howell reported a burglary of his paintings at the hand of ninjas, things took a turn for the even stranger.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 26, 2012 - 23 comments

The Hippy and the Expressionists

Confessions of a Genius Art Forger — In one of Germany's greatest art scandals, former hippie and talented artist Wolfgang Beltracchi forged dozens of paintings over a period of 35 years, earning millions and fooling top collectors and museums. In a SPIEGEL interview, he reveals how he did it and why he eventually got caught. Photo Gallery. Background... [more inside]
posted by netbros on May 26, 2012 - 20 comments

This Moment in Movember History Brought to you by the Letter J

In 1941, the Special Operations Executive forged documents, including passports, in order to help the resistance. Here's the one they made for Adolf Hitler, with a better view of the photos available on this site.
posted by gman on Nov 9, 2011 - 16 comments

The answer, my friends...

Joni Mitchell recently and infamously called him a "plagiarist", and now, Bob Dylan's art show at Gagosian has aroused some similar suspicions. Did Gagosian simply market the exhibition incorrectly?
posted by ReeMonster on Sep 28, 2011 - 102 comments

US National Archives says historian tampered with Lincoln pardon

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero announced today that Thomas Lowry, a long-time Lincoln researcher from Woodbridge, VA, confessed on January 12, 2011, to altering an Abraham Lincoln Presidential pardon that is part of the permanent records of the U.S. National Archives.
posted by gyusan on Jan 24, 2011 - 87 comments

So a priest walks into an art museum...

A Jesuit priest arrives at an art museum in a red Cadillac and parks across two handicap spaces. The frail man has a generous donation of artworks for the museum. He wants neither cash nor a tax receipt for his gift. The problem is, he isn't a priest and his donations are all forged. [more inside]
posted by Brodiggitty on Jan 22, 2011 - 46 comments

Vérités et mensonges

F for Fake (French: Vérités et mensonges) is the last major film completed by Orson Welles, who directed, co-wrote, and starred in the film. Initially released in 1974, it focuses on Elmyr de Hory's recounting of his career as a professional art forger; de Hory's story serves as the backdrop for a fast-paced, meandering investigation of the natures of authorship and authenticity, as well as the basis of the value of art. Loosely a documentary, the film operates in several different genres and has been described as a kind of film essay. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Sep 5, 2010 - 26 comments

For security reasons, several images in this post are watermarked in a way that is not apparent to the observer.

The Mark of a Masterpiece. The company combined the forensic triumphalism of “C.S.I.” with the lottery ethos of “Antiques Roadshow.”

An in-depth profile of Peter Paul Biro, acclaimed forensic art authenticator featured in the 2006 documentary Who the *$&% Is Jackson Pollock? (previously), professional art restorer, swindler, con man, and art forger.
posted by shakespeherian on Jul 6, 2010 - 20 comments

Honest-to-goodness, genuine fake

There are Real Fake Buildings, Real Fake Watches, real fake books, and of course, "The Internet's LARGEST Selection of Real Fake Rocks!" But for truly high-end fakes -- the "realest" of the fakes -- there's the Museum of Fakes in Southern Italy, or even better, the Museum of Art Fakes in Vienna, which includes etchings from "last living master forger from Germany." "The Museum of Art Fakes, almost directly opposite the Hundertwasserhaus, is unique in Europe. It is filled with paintings from not only world famous forgers (such as van Meegeren, Tom Keating, David Stein, Konrad Kujau, Edgar Mrugalla, Lothar Malskat), but also so-called ‘identical-forgeries’ of Schiele, Klimt, Monet, Raffael and many more."
posted by not_the_water on Jun 4, 2010 - 19 comments

Oscar Wilde's Voice

"What you are now going to hear is a recording of the actual voice of Oscar Wilde ..." [more inside]
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Jun 2, 2010 - 25 comments

Elle est partie!

“But I decided on the Mona Lisa, which was the smallest painting and the easiest to transport.” “So there was no chance,” asked the court, “that you decided on it because it was the most valuable painting?” - From Vanity Fair, the twisting, engaging story of how the Mona Lisa was stolen in broad daylight in 1911. (via)
posted by The Whelk on Apr 8, 2010 - 13 comments

Reliving a nightmare

After serving a prison term for molesting an eighth-grader in Ohio, David Copeland-Jackson moved to the District to live with his mother. He e-mailed a buddy and together, federal authorities said, they came up with a plan that would fool a respected judge into issuing a $3 million defamation order against Copeland-Jackson's victim. [more inside]
posted by orrnyereg on Aug 24, 2009 - 52 comments

Beyond Real and Fake

I both loved and resented that wealth of warmth which Elisabeth brought to me in those unexpected hours of the night. I was usually in the midst of a sound sleep when she got into my bed, and thrilling as I found the ministrations of her fat little fingers, it also meant my being kept awake for hours and hours. Besides, though in my conscious nature I knew nothing about what was going on, I must have had a feeling that my sister was bringing to my life as accomplished facts sensations whose real value to a boy was in their being discovered as part of the experience of growing up. She was presenting me with triumphs I should by right attain only by my own efforts in a much more restricted world… [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 20, 2009 - 11 comments

Smoking Gun scoops the L.A. Times

Then again, maybe Puff Daddy wasn't involved in the shooting of Tupac.
It looks like the L.A. Times' March 17th story drew upon forged FBI reports created with a prison typewriter by James Sabatino. The Times is now conducting an internal review. [more inside]
posted by mecran01 on Mar 26, 2008 - 33 comments

Worth a thousand.

Does something in this picture look a little . . . off? At first glance, it's just a picture of smoke from damaged buildings from the conflict in the Mideast. At second glance, it's a fine example of how not to embellish news photos.
posted by Mikey-San on Aug 5, 2006 - 100 comments

Rockwell Forgery Uncovered

For years, art critics were stumped by the inconsistencies in one of Norman Rockwell's most famous paintings for the Saturday Evening Post, Breaking Home Ties. The colors weren't as vibrant as his usual work, nor did the clothes hang correctly. Perhaps most telling, the expression of wistful longing on the face of the protagonist didn't feel right. Two weeks ago, the reasons why became clear. (more inside)
posted by jonson on Apr 8, 2006 - 35 comments

Charity begins at the home office

The Axis of Evil has some competition — in Ohio. The Bush Administration continues to apply pressure to North Korea about its alleged counterfeiting of $100 notes: This Korean story quotes Amb. Alexander Vershbow demanding physical proof that Pyongyang has destroyed its forging equipment. On the other hand, according to the BBC, South Korea's intelligence service doubts the North is counterfeiting, although it may have done so in the past. Meanwhile, on the homefront, a 16-year-old has been fingered as the mastermind of a bogus bill ring operating out of the boy's home in North College Hill, OH. Oddly, the Cincinnati Enquirer article announcing the bust is chock-full of juicy tips for would-be home engravers: rip off old bills rather than new, don't overlook those colored fibers, and set the wash cycle for delicates. Oh, and don't even think about using scissors: it's a sure giveaway!
posted by rob511 on Feb 19, 2006 - 17 comments

Free Brendan Bubar!

Free Brendan Bubar!
posted by mr_crash_davis on Nov 1, 2005 - 24 comments

Archaeological forgeries

The Cardiff Giant, The Mandelbrot Monk, and the amazing Centaur Skeleton from Volos. It's not just this administration that loves to manufacture evidence. Scientists too have often succumbed to temptation.
posted by acrobat on Dec 16, 2004 - 14 comments

CBS and Internet Fisking

Forged Documents? For Shame.
posted by alethe on Sep 10, 2004 - 168 comments

55,000 angry emails,

55,000 angry emails, all because someone decided to forge an email from "pro-palestinian agitator" Francis Boyle. The best part? "the FBI didn't find anything illegal". The guy "spent nearly four days sifting through the messages, writing personal apologies to the offended".

It really is too easy...
posted by mrgavins on Aug 27, 2002 - 8 comments

Make Free Diploma and other good stuff

Make Free Diploma and other good stuff I like the Letter the best.
posted by Niahmas on Dec 10, 2001 - 4 comments

Is this an authentic Leonardo Da Vinci painting for sale on eBay?

Is this an authentic Leonardo Da Vinci painting for sale on eBay? Has anyone even seen this painting that is claimed to have been done by Leonardo Da Vinci before? It looks suspicous to me: the seller does not have a rating and their website looks like it was made by a kindergardner. Is this another eBay scam or something of value?
posted by crog on May 17, 2001 - 14 comments

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