Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kamel Supplied Coptic Forgeries

Further details about the forged Coptic sculptures (and the forthcoming exhibition in the Brooklyn Museum) has appeared (Kate Taylor, "Brooklyn To Exhibit Fake Art", New York Sun, July 15, 2008).

Taylor interviewed several people including Jerome Eisenberg.
One New York dealer, Jerome Eisenberg, acknowledged in a phone interview that he had sold the museum one piece now considered to be fake, a roundel with a border of palm fronds and a central bust. The museum acquired the piece in 1960.

Asked where he bought the roundel, Mr. Eisenberg said that he purchased it from a "very reliable, very ethical" dealer in Cairo, a Copt named Kamel Hammouda. Asked if he knew where Mr. Hammouda got the sculpture, Mr. Eisenberg said that it was against the rules of the trade at the time to ask such questions.
Among the other museums accepting that forged Coptic sculptures had been acquired was the Princeton University Art Museum.

The issue to note is that these forgeries were coming onto the market from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. So even if a piece appears on the market today and has a "good history" prior to 1970, there is no certainty that it is genuine.

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