Friday, November 30, 2007

"The saga of the 'Matter Pollocks' ... appears to have reached a quiet conclusion on Wednesday night"

That's Kate Taylor's take in the New York Sun on the IFAR-event I mentioned yesterday. She describes the evening as "alternately suspenseful, comic, and just plain odd." An example: "Mr. Martin delivered his lecture in the low, foreboding tone of someone describing a criminal investigation. At one point, he observed that the presence of one of the anachronistic pigments in the bottom layers of two paintings — beneath the application of the letters 'JP' on one painting and another apparent signature on the back side of another — 'may raise questions of intentional misattribution or fraud.'"

She also relates the following exchange from the Q & A:

"Addressing himself to [NYU's Pepe] Karmel, [Harvard curator Theodore] Stebbins asked: 'Since most people agree that, with a very few exceptions, they don't look like Pollocks, why are we here? Why did this [story] have legs?' 'Fear,' Mr. Karmel responded, noting that experts who offer opinions about authenticity risk being sued by disgruntled owners. ... 'Those of us who are scholars don't want to get involved.'"

Cleveland Plain Dealer art critic Steven Litt has been following this story as well, and his report on the event is here.