An essay about art forgery and plagiarism by faculty member Dominic Smith appears at Farrar, Straus and Giroux’s Work in Progress:
Forgeries and Figments
Every fake should tell a story. Maybe it’s the blue chalk marks on the back of the frame, partially removed by hand, that suggest previous auction sales. Or maybe it’s the insect frass on the picture itself, evoking decades of neglect in an attic, since flies are drawn to the sugars in the varnish. A careful collector might run an ultraviolet light over the depiction, looking for signs of oxidation—the delicate blue-white fluorescence that is a by-product of age—so in order to deceive collectors, forgers will sometimes remove the varnish from an old, worthless painting and apply it with a spray gun to the new creation.
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