Don’t get trapped by the

Art sleuth Philip Mould re­veals the rise of ‘trap­pers’, who with clever fak­ery are en­tic­ing buy­ers with a weak­ness for an ‘artis­tic flut­ter’

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Life Lifestyle -

trap­per worth lit­tle more than a plate of paella. That is not to say, how­ever, that they can­not draw more fi­nan­cial blood in the right con­di­tions. Some years ago I watched in­cred­u­lously as a “mid 20th-cen­tury Rus­sian” ab­stract pic­ture was ham­mered down for £13,000 in a re­gional sale, a folly that re­quired not one but two ea­ger buy­ers to force its price up from the low hun­dreds. It is also pos­si­ble that trap­pers that have started life at £100 or so, once they have changed, can move higher up the art-world food chain af­ter they have achieved more form and prove­nance. Trap­per mak­ers know their lim­i­ta­tions. Rather than risk cre­at­ing new com­po­si­tions they will gen­er­ally copy or bas­tardise less known ex­am­ples of the artist in ques­tion, culled from a grow­ing mul­ti­plic­ity of op­tions online, in books and from auc­tion cat­a­logues. They also favour im­pres­sion­is­tic, ab­stract, or more sim­pli­fied artis­tic styles that do not re­quire the high fin­ish and more mea­sur­able tech­ni­cal ac­com­plish­ment of tra­di­tional old mas­ters. A den­tist from Lon­don who col­lected an­tique wa­ter­colours and should have known bet­ter, paid £1,800 in a sale in the West Coun­try for a mouth-gap­ing

An eye for de­tail: Philip Mould looks for tell­tale signs of a fake, above, like the “Pi­casso” above left, which failed to dupe peo­ple at auc­tion, sell­ing for less than £100

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.