Monday, February 02, 2009


The New York Observer carries a review of philosopher Denis Dutton's new book The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution which includes the following:

"An entertaining chapter on famous frauds tells the story of Eric Hebborn, who forged 'new' works by old masters suffused with such deep understanding of the artists he copied that connoisseurs still find his work ravishing (and maybe you do, too—his fakes are thought to be on display in museums all over the world). From the disinterested point of view of aesthetics, then, shouldn’t we credit Hebborn with the same skill as the great artists whose work he replicates? As Mr. Dutton points out, it just doesn’t feel right to do that. ... He argues that we feel wronged by forgers no matter how talented because style in art evolved as a means of distinguishing the exceptional individual from the crowd of suitors—a principle that applies equally to the Mona Lisa and Duchamp’s ready-mades."