Art and Antique Frauds

March 27, 1968

Report Outline
Risks of Fraud in Booming Art Market
Past and Present Trends in Collecting
Protection of Investors in Art Market

Risks of Fraud in Booming Art Market

Alert investors and cultural status seekers have joined forces to create a bullish market for arts and antiques. A recent survey by the Times of London and Sotheby's, a leading British auction house, showed that the value of paintings by six artists of the impressionist school had risen ten times over since 1950–52. During the same period, stock market prices rose only about three and one-half times. Although the impressionists are the stars of the current market, the over-all demand for original paintings and prints, antique furniture, and art objects so far outstrips the supply of genuine articles that traffic in fakes and forgeries of all kinds also is flourishing.

Because more collectors with money come on the art scene every year, the collecting game, once restricted to royalty and aristocracy, has developed into a vast enterprise. Ralph F. Colin, administrative vice president of the Art Dealers Association of America, said a few years ago that he used to know most of the country's major collectors by name but the number now had grown so large that he “couldn't begin to name them.”

The number of art dealers in New York, center of the market in this country as London is in Europe, has risen from fewer than 50 in the 1930s to more than 500 today. Established galleries are opening branches. More than 120 new art museums have been founded within the past 15 years, and such leading museums as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York are expanding both collections and exhibition space. Museum activity has a great effect on market conditions. It has been pointed out: “The market value of art is as artificial as that of gold or of diamonds. The great public galleries are the Fort Knoxes of art. Their contents …control the price of art outside them just as surely as the value of money is governed by those …hoards of gold.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Apr. 13, 2007  Stolen Antiquities
Oct. 21, 1994  Arts Funding
May 25, 1990  Tying Down Federal Funds for the Arts
Jun. 05, 1987  The Art Market
Jan. 22, 1982  Trends in Architecture
Feb. 20, 1981  Criticism and Popular Culture
Aug. 11, 1978  Support of the Arts
Sep. 27, 1974  Museum Boom
Feb. 01, 1974  Black Arts Revival
Nov. 28, 1973  New Directions in Architecture
Oct. 17, 1973  World Art Market
Dec. 25, 1970  Directions of the Dance
Jun. 04, 1969  Movies as Art
Feb. 12, 1969  Regional Theater
Mar. 27, 1968  Art and Antique Frauds
Aug. 28, 1963  Arts and the People
Aug. 02, 1961  Government and the Arts
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Arts and Humanities
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