A painting of flowers continues to puzzle museum researchers. Is it an original Van Gogh or not? Visitors to the exhibition get to weigh in on this mystery as part of the cell phone tour.
Detroit Institute of Arts
Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries highlights some of the mistakes and other discoveries made through the years regarding artist attribution, authenticity and value of works in the DIA’s collection. The exhibition illustrates how the DIA constantly re-assesses artworks through research, science, and technology, revealing an aspect of the museum’s work rarely seen by the public.
The show includes 60 paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints, drawings and decorative arts from diverse cultures—European, African, American, Asian, Islamic and Ancient Near Eastern. This diversity of objects provides opportunities to explore issues such as who really created a particular work of art, when it was made, if it is real or fake and other research mysteries at the DIA.
The exhibition begins with a focus on works for which the artist attribution has changed. These came into the collection as being by a recognized artist or culture, but were later determined to be either in the style of a major artist, an exact copy, or by an anonymous artist.
The next section displays known forgeries, with explanations on how the museum came to that conclusion. In some cases, they will be displayed next to authentic works so visitors can see for themselves the different characteristics and clues that led the DIA to determine they were fakes.
The last section contains ongoing "mysteries," for which the jury is still out. For example, the museum is currently examining works by Monet and Van Gogh to determine if they are by the artists, or are forgeries.
Visitors will be able to get a peek into the research that occurs behind the scenes through interactive activities and opportunities for discovery. For example, they will be able to undertake their own artwork investigations at a hands-on lab in the exhibition, which will bring the connection between art and science to life.
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