Faking it

CEO of Harlequin Publishers in India, Amrita Chowdhury, commented on how my work can be used to understand and manage fraud in the art market. Amrita is the author of “Faking it“, an art crime thriller.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Borrowing from the world of business, Harvard Business School professor Tarun Khanna defines institutional voids as gaps in an emerging marketplace, which lead to opportunities for business (or exploitation, as the case may be). Despite the rapid growth in demand for Indian Art over the past two decades, with accompanying hoopla over acquisitions and pricing indices, it remains an imperfect marketplace.

The infrastructure needed to support the art industry, such as valuation expertise, paper trails, critical appraisals and writing, restoration expertise, still need development. Provenance papers are largely missing in India. Many originals were in collections of old estates, where such records were never created or maintained. It is but natural that the first movers to exploit the opportunity were the forgers.

When buying a trophy piece, buyers should not take for granted the reputation of the gallerist, owner or auction house. They should do their own research about the artist and the piece, request for papers where available, get the feedback from independent experts, speak to the family of the artist where possible, and generally avoid rash, impulsive decisions. Even if a piece is being sold at an auction- whether live or online, the works will be available for preview. Buyers could always take an independent expert for a casual preview. At least, the first cut visual appraisal should be done.”



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