Week 1: What is a forgery?
We explore the idea of authenticity and discuss what a forgery is. Looking specifically at the famous 20th-century art forger Han van Meegeren, we uncover the ways in which people were misled into believing his 16th-century fakes were authentic. The hands-on part of the class examines the ground upon which paintings are created.
Week 2: Techniques used in making forgeries
We examine how forgers operate and the various techniques at their disposal from simple to complex and downright ingenious. The forger Wolfgang Beltracchi’s art that mimics modern 20th-century painters is examined with an eye towards the brushstoke. The hands-on part of the class looks at what different types of brushes can do in order to learn how forgers chose the appropriate tool.
Week 3: How to spot forgeries
Developing an eye for art means learning to look in detail. We compare some of the modern radiographic equipment used to authenticate artwork, to the way the human eye operates. The hands-on portion of the class involves examining how comparing real and fake objects.
Week 4: Forgery and the art market
Provenance is a critical part of the art market when it works properly. We discuss what provenance means and how forgers circumvent that process to sell fakes on the market. The hands-on portion of the class involves examining sculpture.
Week 5: Major forged art controversies
We discuss how forgery creates controversies and disruptions in the art world using the specific case of one of the most famous art forgeries in the world that few people have ever heard of, The Riverbank painting currently held in New York’s Metropolitan museum. The hands-on portion of the class involves comparing colour.
Week 6: The conservator’s role
In our final class, how art conservation plays a role in forgery is discussed. The hands-on portion of the class involves mixing and applying an egg-oil emulsion on a mini-canvas to take home with you.
For certificate students only:
Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”
Textbooks and learning materials
Reading material and art supplies will be available in class. Some course materials may be available online.