à bout de souffle
Page Twenty-Nine

Die Fälschung unterscheidet sich vom Original dadurch, dass sie echter aussieht.
Ernst Bloch

? art history reference ?


Die Fälschung unterscheidet sich vom Original dadurch, dass sie echter aussieht.
Ernst Bloch

The anglophone world can be divided in two: English and American. Each side of this division, art-wise, has its experts, encompassing historians, judges, assessors, arbiters, valuers and air-headed punters. For convenience, let's dub the two sides A and B. Not a pecking order: A stands for American; B for British. E wouldn't do here.

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There's not a lot to choose between these two groups. They match each other very evenly: toe to toe and level pegging in the IQ and academic integrity departments. The B team probably has the edge in excruciating snobbery and pretension; but team A heads the race in high-definition numb-skullery. A set of websites has newly appeared, apparently intending to present someone's impression of the representative works of a number of painters and artists. An admirable objective, no doubt, but abysmally ill-informed. Heading this page are eight paintings supposedly by Peter Monamy, as endorsed by the arthistoryreference organisation. Five of these are quite patently not by him, or his studio, and the four most obvious of these cuckoos are shown at right.

The top painting, at right, is virtually certainly by Robert Woodcock. See here. The next two pictures below it are investigated here, and do not appear to have seen the light of day before about 1970. They could perhaps be of Chinese origin. The fourth picture is a classic "Thomas" Leemans, of which there are very numerous examples. He is the world's most invisible marine painter. Try here. Authenticity ? What's that got to do with anything artistic ? All art is essentially unreal.

The top three pictures at left are 100% genuine Monamys. The Tate Gallery storm scene was engraved by Elisha Kirkall in about 1737, and inscribed with Monamy's name. Grave doubts attach to the fourth, said to represent the Battle of Cape Passaro, 1718. The NMM says: "This picture has a received attribution to Isaac Sailmaker, died 1721, but ... it is much more likely to be by Peter Monamy."

The first question is why on earth did arthistoryreference ever select such a totally unrepresentative painting to display ? The next comment is that, in my unhumble opinion, this picture is, in any case, very unlikely to be by Monamy. It looks as if it was painted well after his death in 1749 by someone working in loose emulation: Richard Paton, for instance, whose dates are 1717-1791. Paton painted a number of historic battle scenes. The Battle of Barfleur, 1692, is one example.

At left are three more images of rock-solid Monamy provenance. I say images, advisedly. To the right are three more masqueraders, the upper two looking comfortably more authentic than the originals they emulate. No one need gnash their teeth at this verdict --- fakes and copies, in Monamy's case, fetch much higher prices than the real stuff. Nevertheless, it's quite amusing to compare the easel paintings from the two conversation pieces: the original and the copy. Of course, there are problems with Monamy's workshop output: he certainly did employ sub-contractors, some of whom may actually have been, or became, more skilled. But that cannot be said of any of the works in the right-hand column: correct, highly finished and profoundly dull.

"Forgeries are more real than the real art they fake." Jonathon Keats.

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unlikely to be continued

All truth passes through three stages. 1) It is ridiculed. 2) It is violently opposed. 3) It is accepted as self-evident.
Arthur Schopenhauer

The Marranos of Spain, by Benzion Netanyahu, for instance

chronology & authenticity
monamy website index

© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2013, 2016
all rights reserved

The Kasidah, 1880, has been cited as evidence of Sir Richard Burton's position as a Sufi. Presented by Burton as a translation, the poem and his notes and commentary on it contain layers of Sufic meaning, that seem to have been designed to project Sufi teaching in the West.

Do what thy manhood bids thee do
from none but self expect applause;
He noblest lives and noblest dies
who makes and keeps his self-made laws

This is The Kasidah's most often-quoted passage.

Die Fälschung unterscheidet sich vom Original dadurch, dass sie echter aussieht.
Ernst Bloch

Said three times: now you know it must be true.

George: "Ever bought a fake picture, Toby ?
Toby: "Sold a couple once !"
George: "The more you pay for it, the less you doubt its authenticity."
[TTSS, episode 5, 21.21]

Bad money drives out good.