Two years ago the art world was rocked with news on the discovery of the great Vincent Van Gogh’s painting that had been reported missing was now found in Thailand. These headlines not only made noise amongst the Thai art world but the world at large. This was both laughable and improbable; critics questioned the authenticity of the painting as most believed it was just but a great imitation. The issue of imitation is one that did not start today but rather has been existent since earlier years. Not all teachers do art by themselves, when artists become famous, a demand from the rich and elite comes in surplus so much so that the teachers (artists) have to use their students to help with the delivery of these paintings or hire someone to help them.
One of the most famous artists in this regard is the great artist Rembrandt. He is the most important artist in Dutch art history; Rembrandt was the most respected artist of the ‘Dutch Golden Age’ as a key master and trainer. There are people who later became prominent Dutch artists, many of them followed the teachings and tried to imitate the style of Rembrandt. Sometimes these works are sold to collectors who want to own Rembrandt paintings because there was too little investment in resources to buy a genuine product. Many of these students’ work fell into the hands of an art broker who sold these works as original Rembrandt pieces to unknowing collectors and buyers and to show credibility a fake Rembrandt signature is stamped on it.
In the last hundred years about seven hundred works were thought to be genuine Rembrandt works, but today the numbers have reduced to more than half. This is because most art experts have taken years to prove genuine from fake. This doesn’t stop the fake pieces from being sold at the same price as the original.
Today, the price of an authentic Rembrandt painting and the work done by his followers is different. Even the world’s largest art museum, The Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art), used to hold forty-two paintings that were once believed to be genuine Rembrandt works. Most of those drawings are considered artificial. Only two pictures of the original documents have credible information and can be traced to authenticity from hand. The artist has been through collectors through generations for over 350 years.
One of Rembrandt’s most famous paintings, The Man with the Golden Helmet (1650), featured in the Art Museum’s collection in Gemäldegalerie Berlin Germany, It was previously believed to be one of Rembrandt’s masterpieces of portrait paintings, but is now considered to no longer be a genuine Rembrandt work. It is more likely to be the work of one of his studio students. This work is still hailed as the best of its kind today.
Nowadays, many art collectors visit artist studios, in addition to taking a close look at the work of artists they admire. Also added Confidence that the works of art they bought were definitely authentic. … I’m not soft enough.
1. Self-Portrait with Beret and Turned-Up Collar (1659) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rembrandt)
2. The Man with the Golden Helmet (1650)