Forgery  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents (see false document), with the intent to deceive. The similar crime of fraud is the crime of deceiving another, including through the use of objects obtained through forgery. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations. In the case of forging money or currency it is more often called counterfeiting. But consumer goods are also counterfeits when they are not manufactured or produced by designated manufacture or producer given on the label or flagged by the trademark symbol. When the object forged is a record or document it is often called a false document.

In the 16th century imitators of Albrecht Dürer's style of printmaking improved the market for their own prints by signing them "AD", making them forgeries.

In the 20th century the art market made forgeries highly profitable. There are widespread forgeries of especially valued artists, such as drawings originally by Picasso, Klee, and Matisse.

A special case of double forgery is the forging of Vermeer's paintings by Han van Meegeren and in its turn the forging of Van Meegeren's work by his son Jacques van Meegeren.

This usage of 'forgery' does not derive from metalwork done at a 'forge', but it has a parallel history. A sense of "to counterfeit" is already in the Anglo-French verb forger "falsify."

Forgery is one of the techniques of fraud, including identity theft. Forgery is one of the threats addressed by security engineering.

A forgery is essentially concerned with a produced or altered object. Where the prime concern of a forgery is less focused on the object itself— what it is worth or what it "proves"— than on a tacit statement of criticism that is revealed by the reactions the object provokes in others, then the larger process is a hoax. In a hoax, a rumor or a genuine object "planted" in a concocted situation, may substitute for a forged physical object.

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Forgery as a subject in film

The Orson Welles documentary F for Fake concerns both art and literary forgery. For the movie Welles intercut footage of Elmyr de Hory, an art forger, and Clifford Irving, who wrote an "authorized" autobiography of Howard Hughes that had been revealed to be a hoax. While forgery is the ostensible subject of the film, it also concerns art, film making, storytelling and the creative process.

In the Steven Spielberg 2002 motion picture Catch Me If You Can which is based on the real story of Frank Abagnale, a con man who stole over $2.5 million through forgery, imposture and other frauds is dramatized. His career in crime lasted six years from 1963 to 1969.

Documentary art

Before the invention of cameras, people commonly hired painters and engravers to "re-create" an event or a scene. Artists had to imagine what to illustrate based on the information available to them about the subject. Some artists added elements to make the scene more exotic, while others removed elements out of modesty. In the 18th century, for example, Europeans were curious about what North America looked like and were ready to pay to see illustrations depicting this faraway place. Some of these artists produced prints depicting North America, despite many having never left Europe.

Topics in forgery

References

  • Robert Cohon, Discovery & Deceit: archaeology & the forger's craft Kansas: Nelson-Atkins Museum, 1996
  • Oscar Muscarella, The Lie Became Great: the forgery of Ancient Near Eastern cultures, 2000
  • "Imaginary Images" in Detecting the Truth: Fakes, Forgeries and Trickery at Library and Archives Canada
  • Franklin, Dixon. Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers Case#21: Comic Con Artist. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2008.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Forgery" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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