Acquisition Dangereuse
July 11, 2018 10:45 AM   Subscribe

“I licked the chair and voilà,” he says. “I could taste the fraud.”

In June 2016, Bill G. B. Pallot and Charles Hooreman, rival antiques dealers in Paris, became the two most famous men in the French art world. That was when Pallot admitted to the police that he had masterminded the forgery of at least four chairs purportedly built in the 18th century for France’s royal household and, in a series of transactions via third parties between 2009 and 2015, sold them to the Palace of Versailles. For decades, Pallot, who ran the furniture division of the Parisian gallery Didier Aaron, had enjoyed a reputation as the world’s leading expert on the works of 18th-century France; indeed, Versailles’s decision to purchase the chairs hinged on Pallot’s blessing. And based on Pallot’s imprimatur, the government classified two of his fake lots as national treasures.
posted by devrim (39 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
I wish I was creative enough to do a "I lik'd the chair" poem - get working on it, Mefites!
posted by King Sky Prawn at 10:56 AM on July 11 [12 favorites]


I know it's not the main point of the article, but I couldn't read this without wanting to make my own fake antique furniture. Not to dupe people. It just sounds fun to do. It's like building theater sets, or something.

Also: extremely relevant.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 11:10 AM on July 11 [7 favorites]


my nam iz Chuck
an wen in France
i sit an smoak
i drink an dance

but wen some ting
is just not fair
i tayst the fraud
i lik the chair
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:13 AM on July 11 [75 favorites]


my name is Charles
and wen i see
un chaise that might
be forgery
I chek the wood
I test with care
to prove it’s fake
I like the chair.
posted by nonasuch at 11:16 AM on July 11 [58 favorites]


my name is charles
and when i guess
my professor
needs to confess

i gaze upon
this thing thats odd
i lik the chair
i taste the frod
posted by ChuraChura at 11:18 AM on July 11 [42 favorites]


OK that's enough
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:21 AM on July 11 [16 favorites]


Student turned master:
He licked the chair, exclaimed "Voilà!"
Thus was fraud revealed
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:29 AM on July 11 [10 favorites]


I've dealt in rare vinyl records for the last 15 years or so. Though I've never licked a record, there's a sense one gets when you know your stuff, that's literally instantaneous upon contact with the items one gets to know over a career. Many times I've declared a pressing a pirate within a second of lifting the record, communicated to me by the texture or thickness of the sleeve or the weight of the vinyl inside, even for records I haven't previously encountered, due to the familiarity of materials used in the year/region the record allegedly comes from. It's a wonderful feeling.
posted by dobbs at 11:29 AM on July 11 [30 favorites]


We got Downeast and Yankee Magazines when I grew up in Ohio with parents from northern New England and I distinctly remember reading a story about a guy building a fake antique chair, using old wood, correct technique, appropriate finish, then going to lengths to age it as if it had been poorly treated over the years, including a final coat of paint. He put some sort of hardware in it to prove that it was not, in fact, old, and sold it cheap to an antique shop with no claim of authenticity or age, just a chair from his basement. The chair ended up being offered at auction as a fine antique.

Of course, it was probably some other magazine and a table, but hey, at least I didn't write a poem.

Cool post, thanks.
posted by theora55 at 11:33 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


There once was an expert in Paris
Who later his mentor embarrassed
When licking the chair
he said "I declare!
This furniture ain't from the palace!"

(Je ne regrette rien)
posted by "mad dan" eccles at 11:41 AM on July 11 [45 favorites]


This is to say

I have licked
the chairs
that were in
Versailles

and which
you had surely
sold
as frauds

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
but not old
posted by Pendragon at 11:44 AM on July 11 [78 favorites]


There once was a dealer named Hoorman
Who suspected a fraud on the floor plan.
He licked on the seat
And detected the cheat
And Pallot became naught but a doorman.

(I carry your scorn as a badge of honor.)
posted by Billiken at 11:50 AM on July 11 [19 favorites]


OK that's enough

NO!
There can NAVIR be enough poems!!!
posted by BlueHorse at 11:53 AM on July 11 [17 favorites]


Mr.Encyclopedia: OK that's enough

YOU’RE NOT MY SUPERVISOR
posted by dr_dank at 11:54 AM on July 11 [28 favorites]


No no this is the first thing that's made me smile all day.

I lik the pomes
posted by sio42 at 11:57 AM on July 11 [13 favorites]


It's times like these when I wish I hadn't stopped learning French after high school. The ability to create a cleverly humorous bilingual limerick on this topic would delight me no end. Alas. :(
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:01 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


OK that's enough

Flagged as "Killjoy."
posted by wenestvedt at 12:11 PM on July 11 [12 favorites]


my nam is mod
and wen i see
some killer joy
stop riffery

there flag i scorn
(tho i am woke);
i wryte the pome

i lyke the joke
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:18 PM on July 11 [70 favorites]


Greg_Ace - at least you know how to use "alas" correctly.
posted by lapolla at 12:19 PM on July 11


Isn't this the plot of "The Goldfinch"?
posted by lagomorphius at 12:30 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Thank you for the cow poems because I clicked in here thinking, "I hope there are some cow poems about licking chairs!" and there were and I was so happy.
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:36 PM on July 11 [12 favorites]


My nayme is owl
I lyke ye form
Of wrytyng pomes
with spelling torn

but wun thyng
bryngs misery;
Mis-use of "lik"
whence "lyke" should be

Of cases wurst
it's not the top;
for pedant's sayke
I prithee stop.
posted by "mad dan" eccles at 1:01 PM on July 11 [12 favorites]


“The problem is that prison is not made for intellectuals,” he told the French edition of GQ. As if the fraud weren't bad enough.
posted by knownassociate at 1:07 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


Prison is great for intellectuals! Plenty of time to read and write, nothing to do but think.
This guy would probably get beat up a lot, but that's not really a problem unique to intellectuals so much as insufferable assholes.
posted by Krawczak at 1:21 PM on July 11 [4 favorites]


I guess I'm not surprised that the art world mostly sided with the charming forger rather than the guy that told them the truth but "wasn't really our kind, dear." Especially since half the art market is based on illusion. But still depressing.
posted by tavella at 1:24 PM on July 11 [7 favorites]


Pallot, for his part, is dismissive of Hooreman. “He’s very clever, but nobody knew of him before this affair,” he says.

Now I'm wondering if taste isn't just another weapon in the long history of asymmetric class warfare.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:27 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


je mappel charles
et kand je vois
une chaise tro noire
je lèche le bwa
posted by etherist at 2:49 PM on July 11 [30 favorites]


Isn’t “Lick The Chair” the followup to Spinal Tap’s classic “Smell The Glove” LP?
posted by TedW at 2:58 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


I know it's not the main point of the article, but I couldn't read this without wanting to make my own fake antique furniture. Not to dupe people. It just sounds fun to do. It's like building theater sets, or something.

If you're interested in the evolution of style and construction, the best place I know of is Pegs and ‘Tails. His Proposed Furniture Program covers all the copies he's got planned or completed, linking to the blog posts on each. He has lots of interesting articals on social history, manufacture and use of baise, drawer construction, lock construction, etc. He doesn't waste time on beginner's woodworking techniques, figuring that you can find those anywhere but if you can follow it, the instructions are more comprehensive than they may seem.

If you'd like to sit back and watch somebody make copies of Early American furniture, then check out Doucette and Wolfe
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:28 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


“The problem is that prison is not made for intellectuals,”

Antonio Gramsci, Jean Genet, and the Marquis de Sade might disagree.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:41 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


i wryte the pome
i lyke the joke


I love this place.
posted by mhoye at 4:42 PM on July 11 [8 favorites]


I likd a chair
And I likd it
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:14 PM on July 11 [7 favorites]


The taste of its cherry licorice
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:50 PM on July 11 [4 favorites]


The Licorice Fraud... It could be the title of a children’s book (along the lines of The Chocolate War) or a band name (like The String Cheese Incident).
posted by trillian at 6:55 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


Now I know that my long-ago dog who chewed up all the furniture from the antique store while ignoring the modern stuff was merely trying to establish provenance.
posted by moonmilk at 6:57 PM on July 11 [5 favorites]


I licked all your licorice and I’m happy to report that it’s genuine.
posted by arcticseal at 12:04 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]


With apologies to Jill Sobule:

I bought a chair at auction one day,
“That thing is a big fat phony”, they say
Fake as a three dollar bill, but such a fancy seat

I take a look at every bolt and each seam
Trying to decide what it means, but coming up with nothin’

So I took a walk, got fresh air
Figured out how I’m gonna authenticate that chair

I licked the seat
posted by dr_dank at 3:11 PM on July 12


I likd a chair
And I likd it


I hope my sofa dont mynd it
posted by arcticwoman at 10:56 AM on July 13 [2 favorites]


It tastd rong
It lookd so rite
Its pedigree's utter shite
posted by infinitewindow at 11:37 AM on July 13 [3 favorites]


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