New book penetrates world of art forgery and authentication
Imperial College Press and World Science Publishers have released “The Scientist and the Forger” a new book by Jehane Ragai, that takes the reader down the fascinating and ever more turbulent journey of forgery detection and art authentication.
Aimed at the layman, the book includes a multitude of captivating stories including that of the forged Chagall painting ultimately ending in a French furnace, the 32 acclaimed inauthentic Jackson Pollocks found in an attic and the Russian avant garde expert accused of fraud. Not even the shrewdest of forgeries, it demonstrates, can withstand scrutiny by cutting-edge scientific tools all intelligibly presented in the book.
“The Scientist and the Forger” provides fresh insights into the psychology of the forger and the viewer and provides a novel analysis of the role of courts operating under the dictates of the common law system in authentication matters, with the eventual questioning of such a practice.
Dealing with cases as recent as 2014/2015, the book provides a gripping portrayal of the complexity of challenges faced by the art world today: unscrupulous so-called forensic scientists, dealers and agents who, keen to live by sales in the art market are sometimes willing participants in fraud, claims of art fraud being met with legal libel, and forgers who once tracked down, are given astonishingly light sentences followed by celebrity upon release.
Jehane Ragai, author of “The Scientist and The Forger” is an Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at the American University in Cairo, has worked on the study of the Giza Sphinx and was a four-time judge for the L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science award.
“This timely, splendidly researched and very readable book provides the educated layman with illuminating insights into the many social, technical and psychological factors associated with both the act of forgery and the process of authenticating a genuine original vision.”
David L. Carpanini, Past President of the Royal Society of Painter – Printmakers
“Previous authors on the subject rarely developed so crisp analyses of the psychological facets of art forgery from the perspective of the forger and more interestingly from the owner of a forged art piece. This gives this book a special flavor and provides enticing views on the subject.”
Christian Amatore, Member of the French and Chinese Academies of Science
A highly original and informative volume that is not only impossible to put down but also makes one think in a new way about how we view the world around us.”
Chris Dobson, John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Chemical and Structural Biology and Master of St John's College, Cambridge
“Dr. Ragai’s book is a delight for all those who have an interest in both fine arts and science.”
Krister Holmberg, President of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in Gothenberg and Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
“In an elegant and engaging style, Professor Jehane Ragai provides us with an exceptional exposé of art, science, and business”.
Ahmed Zewail, Nobel prize in Chemistry (1999)