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From Russia With Doubt: The Quest to Authenticate 181 by Adam Lerner

By Adam Lerner

In 2010 the Museum of latest artwork Denver director Adam Lerner did anything unparalleled within the museum global: he fixed a wide exhibition of work with no first understanding whether or not they have been actual or fakes. Painted within the Suprematist and Constructivist variety of early twentieth-century Russian avant-garde masters, the 181 canvases were got through novice creditors Ron and Roger Pollard from a mysterious vendor in Germany they met on eBay who claimed the work have been present in an deserted delivery box held in German customs because the Nineteen Eighties. In From Russia with Doubt, Lerner skillfully weaves jointly the tale—from the preliminary eBay locate to his debatable selection to express the collection—guiding readers throughout the having a look glass into the Byzantine corridors of the artwork international and past, describing the owners' quest to authenticate and appraise the would-be masterpieces. What he unearths increases robust questions on our personal dating to artwork.

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Additional resources for From Russia With Doubt: The Quest to Authenticate 181 Would-Be Masterpieces of the Russian Avant-Garde

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In light of these particular circumstances surrounding the Russian avant-garde movement, it can be difficult even for well-intentioned collectors, art dealers, or museum directors to decide what is an authentic work and to know whom they can trust. The previously mentioned ARTnews article appeared a few months after the Art Newspaper reported that French police had closed down and confiscated an entire exhibition devoted to Russian avant-garde artist Alexandra Exter at the Château Museum in Tours.

It made sense that, given the relatively low price of the works, they would move through a network of antique dealers rather than art galleries. The sellers’ theory that the paintings were made by students also made sense, as most of the major figures of the Russian avantgarde surrounded themselves with students. Malevich had the loyalty of nearly an entire school at Vitebsk. It was common practice for students to adopt the approach of a single teacher with whom they aligned, and students would often copy the works of their teachers in order to master the techniques of the great artists.

After hearing Ron’s story, the co-counsel recommended that Ron inform the Federal Bureau of 52 Th e Se arch fo r Orig ins Investigation about the collection before selling any of the paintings to make sure that they were not stolen property. An FBI agent in Salt Lake City spoke to Ron, Roger, and the two lawyers for almost an hour, gathering the facts about the purchases and discussing the collectors’ options and the associated risks. After this initial discussion, the agent began working with Interpol to determine if any of the eBay paintings had been reported as being stolen.

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