Caveat Emptor and other high sounding words

I remember vividly when I first discovered the art of writing, it coincided with my teenage years when it’s fashionable to write love letters to girls, I am not sure whether any of the long letters won any heart, but it drove me to reading the dictionary and a lot of novels . It doesn’t matter whether it’s fictional or autobiography, one good that came out of it is that it opened my mind much like a hallucinogenic mushroom to discovering new words, , the love for strange words also drove me into the waiting hands of new cultures, especially Latin with such words like, Caveat Emptor and Ipso facto all sounding so romantic to my young mind even before grasping the full weight of it’s true meaning.

John Myatt with a replication by Van Gogh. Image Source: The Riverside Journals

Having spent some years in the varsity trying to draw like Leonardo da Vinci and sculpt like Michelangelo Buornarotti it finally dawned on me that the art market is just a cruel joke and the ship has sailed long ago, so I paint like myself and if my art works are not selling like a hot cake, that is a story for another day this story is about the true meaning of Caveat Emptor or ‘Buyers beware”

I still love a good drawing any day and worship Da Vinci lines, Henry Moore forms certainly made me think more deeply about ancestral masks, but what got me thinking is the connoisseur and the art of collecting art and the attendant fraud that has overrun and ruined the whole show in years.

Parmigianino, Saint Jerome, may be a forgery. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

A true art collector thrive on the rarity of the object collected as well as the intrinsic value enmeshed therein, considering the size of the art market, which was estimated at $45 billion in 2014, there has been some unwisely spent money among collectors and museums. in fact true collectors are like hoarders, and prefer to keep it out of the klieglight, and prefers to show it almost in a boastful manner to a few. It may be understandable to keep such objects under wraps perhaps due to its fragility or for security reasons.

A Fake Giacometti by Robert Driessen. Date Unknown

The art of forgery has developed sophistry in deception as there are no limits and anyone can fall victim,, all the big names have fallen victim at one point or the other, including Sotheby and the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent which exhibited 26 fake works, which were on loan from a collector in January 2018.

One of the biggest and most lucrative art fraud scam held in a prestigious old New York art gallery and it ran for 15 years before it was shut down, yet the art market is still rife with forgeries of counterfeit masterpieces despite the introduction of state-of-art technology, the demand from museums is just too high.

Some of the most prominent names in the world of forgery includes; John Myatt , Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simon, yes you heard right, he started out copying Roman sculptors to making ‘Eros sleeping’ before sculpting David, Elmyr de Hory is an enigma to himself with several layers of identity. Ely Sakhai was a successful art gallery owner before his life as a forger came to limelight.

The market is still holding on with bated breadth on the next forgery and museums are still looking for another elusive masterpieces hoping upon hope that its not forged.

The list of art fraud and forgers is endless, do you know of any names which has not been mentioned? Do write to tell us


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