forgery


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Wikipedia.

forgery,

in criminal law, willful fabrication or alteration of a written document with the intent to injure the interests of another in a fraudulent manner. The crime may be committed even though the fraudulent scheme fails. The forgery of government obligations—e.g., money, bonds, postage stamps—constitutes the separate offense of counterfeitingcounterfeiting,
manufacturing spurious coins, paper money, or evidences of governmental obligation (e.g., bonds) in the semblance of the true. There must be sufficient resemblance to the genuine article to deceive a person using ordinary caution.
..... Click the link for more information.
. Typical examples of forgery are making insertions or alterations in otherwise valid documents and appending another's signature to a document without permission. It is, of course, lawful to sign another's signature as his attorney or representative so long as there is no plan to commit fraud. Most instances of forgery occur in connection with instruments for the payment of money. The crime may also concern documents of title, e.g., deeds, or public documents, including birth and marriage certificates. In the United States forgery ordinarily is a state crime; but to send forged documents through the post office may constitute the federal crime of mail fraud.

forgery,

in art, the false claim to authenticity for a work of art.

The Nature of Forgery

Because the provenance of works of art is seldom clear and because their origin is often judged by means of subtle factors, art forgery has always been commonplace. The sorts of deception involved include the complete production of a work that is passed off as being of a particular period, false claims regarding materials or workmanship, the piecing together of old fragments to simulate antiquity, the selling as originals of faithful copies that were not intended to be taken as anything but copies, and the false attribution of minor works to great masters. Forgeries are distinguished from falsifications, which include copies or even mechanical reproductions not initially meant to pass for the original, in that they are intended to defraud. These sorts of deceptions, made for financial gain, reflect prevailing taste and fashion, conventions in collecting, and current modes of art criticism.

See also counterfeitingcounterfeiting,
manufacturing spurious coins, paper money, or evidences of governmental obligation (e.g., bonds) in the semblance of the true. There must be sufficient resemblance to the genuine article to deceive a person using ordinary caution.
..... Click the link for more information.
.

Early History

Art falsification and forgery are ancient endeavors, but they were not so widely practiced before the collection of antiques came into vogue (see antique collectingantique collecting,
the assembling of items of aesthetic, historical, and often monetary value from earlier eras. The term antique initially referred only to the preclassical and classical cultures of the ancient world. It is now applied to old artifacts of all cultures.
..... Click the link for more information.
) or before the cult of artistic personalities developed. Still, many minor Greek sculptors carved the signatures of Phidias and Praxiteles into their works that were made for export to Roman collectors. During the Renaissance Michelangelo himself, according to Vasari, carved a marble cupid, buried it for a time to give it an antique look, and sold it as an ancient sculpture. Ghiberti produced ancient-looking Greek and Roman medals in imitation of aesthetic styles he admired.

The Proliferation of Forgery

Large numbers of forgeries of antique works have invariably followed directly after great archaeological discoveries, e.g., the 18th-century unearthing of Pompeii and Herculaneum resulted in quantities of forged Roman paintings. Museums are among the principal victims of such handiwork: Pietro Pennelli's fake antique terra-cotta pottery found its way into the Louvre in 1873. Copies of Parthenon sculpture in England were determined as forgeries by Bernard Ashmole in 1954. A bronze horse, purportedly an antique Greek work, and an Etruscan warrior are two famous cases of forged sculpture brought to light at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Thousands of lesser faked objects are displayed in private and public collections. Museum authorities, in an effort to avoid being duped, are sometimes overzealous in their rejection of works that are difficult to integrate within accepted concepts of stylistic development. The Fayum portraits of early Christian Egypt were just such a case. There is, of course, some opposition to revealing known frauds; an object's reputation may stand in an uneasy limbo of doubted authenticity for years.

The 20th cent., with its ever-increasing emphasis on the financial value of works of art, has witnessed the discovery of two master forgers. Alceo Dossena of Cremona (1878–1936) was a sculptor expert in the carving techniques of antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. His work was of the highest quality and not made in deliberate imitation of the styles he admired; rather he was inspired by them to the creation of his own, similar works. His Virgin and Child in the 15th-century Florentine manner is at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Hans van Meergeren (1884–1947), a mediocre Dutch painter, claimed to have discovered several lost paintings by Vermeer. He sold them to Hermann Goering and was put on trial after World War II for selling national treasures. Van Meergeren proved himself innocent by painting another "Vermeer" in his jail cell.

Controversy has often raged over the authenticity of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre; each of five other versions has been credited with being the original. The number of forgeries of the works of Corot and of the American painters A. P. RyderRyder, Albert Pinkham,
1847–1917, American painter, b. New Bedford, Mass. In 1867 his family moved to New York City. There he studied with W. E. Marshall, the engraver, and at the National Academy of Design, but he was largely self-taught.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and R. A. BlakelockBlakelock, Ralph Albert,
1847–1919, American landscape painter, b. New York City. The son of a doctor, he was educated for a medical career but abandoned it for painting, in which he was largely self-taught. His life was one of hardship.
..... Click the link for more information.
 greatly exceeds these artists' actual productions.

Detecting Forgeries

A forger often unconsciously produces a confusion of styles or subtly accents elements reflecting contemporary bias. A major example is the work passed off as Lucas Cranach's by the brilliant German forger F. W. Rohrich (1787–1834). He imbued these paintings with a touch of the Biedermeier aesthetic, prevalent in his own day, that later betrayed their falsity. The 19th-century Russian creator of the famous tiara of Saïtapharnes (Louvre), an engraved headdress in gold, supposedly a Scythian work of the 3d cent. B.C., borrowed freely from motifs displayed in 19th-century publications concerning recent excavations.

Despite modern technological advances, much forgery remains impervious to detection by other than empirical means. Critical expertise in the styles and aesthetics of various periods is still the principal tool of the authenticator. Artistic clumsiness, a jumble of styles or motifs, and a discernible emphasis on the aesthetic values of the forger's own day more consistently reveals fakery than does technical analysis. Nonetheless, such contemporary tools as X-ray, infrared, and ultraviolet photography are employed to reveal pentimentopentimento
, painter's term for the evidence in a work that the original composition has been changed. Often the opaque pigment with which the artist covered a mistake or unwanted beginnings will, with time or injudicious cleaning, become transparent, and a revelation of
..... Click the link for more information.
 and overpainting.

In addition, craquelurecraquelure
, hairline surface cracking of paintings into characteristic patterns determined by age, climatic conditions, and the materials used in the work. Cracking was so common in works by 18th-century English painters that it became known as craquelure anglaise.
..... Click the link for more information.
 may be microscopically examined. Chemical analysis and carbon-14 dating may provide relatively inconclusive testimony when ancient materials have been used. As scientific techniques grow more sophisticated, so do the techniques of forgers. The discovery of forgery results in a curious phenomenon—a work of art may be considered a priceless masterpiece one day and worthless the next. Without proof of origin its valuation as false or authentic is at best a matter of subjective human judgment.

Bibliography

See P. B. Coremans, Van Meegeren's Faked Vermeers and De Hooghs (tr. 1949); B. Ashmole, Forgeries of Ancient Sculpture (1961); O. Kurz, Fakes (2d ed. 1967); A. Rieth, Archaeological Fakes (1967, tr. 1970); T. Hoving, False Impressions: The Hunt for Big-Time Art Fakes (1996); T. Lenain, Art Forgery: The History of a Modern Obsession (2012); J. Koobatian, ed., Faking It: An International Bibliography of Art and Literary Forgeries, 1949–1986 (1987).

Forgery

 

in art. (1) The preparation Of works of fine, decorative, or applied art in imitation of a particular historical style or the style of a well-known master. Forgery is done with the intent of sale.

(2) A forged work of art. A forgery is seldom a copy of an original. It most often is a variation upon an original or a compilation of characteristic motifs from several originals. Forgers, some of whom are very talented, imitate the stylistic details of a specific era or the artistic style of a particular master artist, painstakingly copying all his distinctive techniques. For greater verisimilitude, they use old materials and old technical devices. Forgers simulate the effects of age, such as patina on stone and metal and craquelures on paintings. They create artificial gaps and fragmentation, allegedly caused by the passage of time.

REFERENCES

Libman, M., and G. Ostrovskii. Poddel’nye shedevry. Moscow [1966].
Friedländer, M. J. Echt und Unecht. Berlin, 1929.
Goll, J. Konstfälscher. Leipzig, 1962.

Forgery

See also Fraudulence, Hoax.
Acta Pilati (Acts of Pilate)
apocryphal account of Crucifixion. [Rom. Hist.: Brewer Note-Book, 7]
Altamont, Col. Jack
convicted of forgery; sentenced to transportation; escapes. [Br. Lit.: Pendennis]
Caloveglia, Count
creates a bronze statue of a Greek faun and sells it as an authentic antique. [Br. Lit.: South Wind in Magill II, 988]
Chatterton
boy poet produced poems allegedly by 15th-century monk. [Br. Hist.: Brewer Note-Book, 164]
Constitutum Constantini
so-called Donation of Constantine, a document in which Constantine gave Rome authority over his capital at least a decade before his capital was founded. [Rom. Hist.: Wallechinsky, 45]
Mr. X
by definition, the identity of the greatest forger of all time. [Pop. Culture: Wallechinsky, 47]
Protocols of the Elders of Zion
tract purporting to reveal a Jewish conspiracy to control the world. [Jew. Hist.: Wigoder, 170]
Raspigliosi cup
masterpiece attributed to Cellini, discovered in 1984 to have been forged by Reinhold Vasters, 19th-century goldsmith. [Ital. Art: N. Y. Times, Feb. 12, 1984]
Rowley poems
the work of Thomas Chatterton (1752–1770), who said they were written by a 15th-century priest. [Br. Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 371]
Vermeer
successful fakes of his paintings went undetected for many years. [Dutch Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 371]

forgery

1. Criminal law the false making or altering of any document, such as a cheque or character reference (and including a postage stamp), or any tape or disc on which information is stored, intending that anyone shall accept it as genuine and so act to his or another's prejudice
2. Criminal law the counterfeiting of a seal or die with intention to defraud
References in classic literature ?
Then, turning to his desk, he said, striking the letter with the back of his right hand, "Come, I had a forgery, three robberies, and two cases of arson, I only wanted a murder, and here it is.
It was of more than twice the substance of the last paper on which he had operated, when he was engaged in the forgery ease; and it was, on that account, comparatively easy for him
The governess crossed the wide hall into a little room at the side where she sat down to write the cheque, which he hastened out to go and cash as if it were stolen or a forgery.
1904 he and I worked together--the Abercrombie forgery case--you remember, he was run down in Brussels.
But that is the misfortune of beginning with this kind of forgery.
That nice young person who began life with a forgery, and ended it by a suicide--your dear, romantic, interesting Chatterton.
Murder, manslaughter, arson, forgery, swindling, house- breaking, highway robbery, larceny, conspiracy, fraud?
Somehow or other we should have had reason to have suspected, them; but the man showed us a bill of sale for the ship, to one Emanuel Clostershoven, or some such name, for I suppose it was all a forgery, and called himself by that name, and we could not contradict him: and withal, having no suspicion of the thing, we went through with our bargain.
He got himself into a fog recently over a forgery case, and that was what brought him here.
Is it forgery, coining, burglary--where does the money come from?
The sources said several cases of sale of forged stamp papers have surfaced and huge financial loss was being caused to national exchequer due to forgery in stamp papers.
Faking documents, contracts, agreements, cheques, official financial statements, education certificates and their validation stamps, passports, currencies, credit cards and company logos are only some of the ways that forgery manifests itself in crime, the ministry said.