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Travelling exhibition organized by International Arts & Artists reveals the captivating world of art forgeries
Elmyr de Hory (Hungary, 1906-1976), Odalisque, 1974, oil on canvas, in the style of Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954). Collection of Mark Forgy, Photo by Robert Fogt.

SPRINGFIELD, MASS.- An exhibition exploring the techniques and psychology behind the works of some of the world’s most famous forgers opened January 21 at the Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts. Intent to Deceive: Fakes and Forgeries in the Art World profiles five prolific forgers from the 20th century to the present day and sheds light onto the ways their infamous legacies beguiled the art world. Among the more than 55 works on display, Intent to Deceive features more than 15 original works by major artists, including Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso and Paul Signac, among others, interspersed with the fakes and forgeries painted in the styles of these masters.

International Arts & Artists, a nonprofit arts service organization in Washington, D.C., partnered with independent curator Colette Loll, an art fraud expert, to organize Intent to Deceive and its tour. After premiering at the Springfield Museums in Massachusetts, Intent to Deceive will travel to The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida; Canton Museum of Art in Canton, Ohio; and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art in Oklahoma.

Unable to establish careers based on the acceptability of their own artistic styles, the forgers profiled in Intent to Deceive—Han van Meegeren, Elmyr de Hory, Eric Hebborn, John Myatt, and Mark Landis—found fakery the exact duplication of an original work of art, and forgery, the creation and selling of a work of art which is falsely credited to another, the most accessible avenues toward recognition and commercial success. This exhibition explores how each forger was ultimately exposed and illustrates the role technology plays in detecting forgeries by aiding art professionals in identifying authenticity. Intent to Deceive examines the advances in various forensic testing that are assisting art professionals in battling this pervasive art crime.

Intent to Deceive is organized chronologically and divided into six sections: one section for each of the five forgers and a final section that offers visitors the opportunity to test their own perceptions of authenticity by comparing original works by masters of art with the counterfeit works by the profiled forgers. Included in each forger’s profile are his original works, personal effects and ephemera, photographs, film clips, and representations of the material and techniques used to create the convincing artworks.

An interactive, online catalogue accompanies the exhibition which includes scholarly essays by experts in the field, such as art historian and critic, Dr. Tom Flynn; curator of Old Master Paintings at Museum Boijmans Van Beunigen, Friso Lammertse; expert of art market history and professor of Arts Management at SUNY Purchase College, Dr. Jeffery Taylor; and The New Yorker expose on Mark Landis by Alec Wilkinson, as well as a gallery of all the works presented in the exhibition.

Colette Loll is founder and director of Art Fraud Insights, a consultancy specializing in art fraud related lectures, training, and investigation of artworks. Ms. Loll has been involved in several independent projects related to the topic of fine art forgery and art forensics, and trains agents in forgery investigations for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cultural Heritage Protection Program. Ms. Loll has lectured widely in Europe and the U.S, including at the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC), University of Budapest (Hungary), Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris (Paris, France), Interpol Headquarters (Lyon, France) and the Salgrave Club (Washington, DC).

International Arts & Artists in Washington, DC, is a non-profit arts service organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally, through exhibitions, programs and services to artists, arts institutions and the public.

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