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Binghamton University to host event on forgery in the art world


BINGHAMTON, NY – Binghamton University will host a symposium titled "Hidden Clues: Discerning Fakes and Forgeries in Art" from 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, in the Fine Arts Building, on campus. The event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Kenneth C. Lindsay Study Room Fund.

The symposium will feature presentations by William Voelkle ‘52, curator of medieval and renaissance manuscripts at the Morgan Library & Museum; Patrick McGrady ’92, Charles V. Hallman Curator at the Palmer Museum of Art; Luisa Casella, photographs conservator at West Lake Conservators; and Betty Krulik of Betty Krulik Fine Art Ltd.

Presenters will tackle the contentious question of authenticity, and how fakes and forgeries threaten a museum’s mission.

Diane Butler, director of the Binghamton University Art Museum, said the experts will discuss the nature of connoisseurship, or one’s judgmental discernment when viewing art.

"We are delighted to have two curators and that they are both alumni and well positioned in the art world," Butler said. "This event is not a hard sell — there’s something intriguing about learning more about the intent to defraud with objects."

Butler explained how scientific advancements simultaneously help identify a forged work of art and counterfeit an original.

"Knowledge of chemistry allows forgers to conceal their forgery but also allows investigators to reveal their forgery," Butler said.

The symposium will be held in conjunction with an exhibit titled "The Spanish Forger: ‘Medieval’ Paintings from the Collection of William Voelkle ’52," on view in the museum through Dec. 13. The exhibit displays the work of one of the most prolific forgers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Until recently, numerous of his medieval-style paintings and manuscripts were admired as genuine pieces. His identity remains unknown; however, part of the forger’s charm is that he developed a unique style despite his counterfeit intent. Today, his fakes are sold and collected as works by the Spanish Forger.

Admission to the Binghamton University Art Museum is free. For directions and museum hours, go online.

Last Updated: 9/17/13