Fake or real art­works?

The Daily Examiner - - RELAX - — Jeff Maynard

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

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