Fake or real artworks?
IN 2015, THE authenticity of three paintings by late artist Brett Whiteley came to be scrutinised in the Melbourne Magistrates Court. Were the artworks, supposedly produced in 1988, fakes unloaded for large sums of money on unsuspecting businessmen? Or was the eccentric heroin addict simply having an off day when he painted them? More importantly, with so-called art experts, including Whiteley’s ex-wife, disagreeing with one another, how does one prove in a court of law what is genuine and what is an imitation? Coslovich follows the court case (and the following appeal) that sent shock waves through the Australian art community. Rather than simply report the court happenings, Coslovich cleverly weaves elements of the story together until it reads like a mystery novel. She interviews witnesses, studies the evidence and receives anonymous emails to produce an exciting whodunit. VERDICT: Well framed. WHITELEY ON TRIAL, GABRIELLA COSLOVICH, MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY PRESS, RRP $33