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posted by jmorrison on 02/11 | permalink | send entry

yah, this was covered a year or so ago in a discover magazine article. what’s most interesting is that pollock could visually sense fractal dimension, even when there wasn’t a word for it then; he *knew* what he was after.

i remember when i was maybe ten (which makes it late 1960’s) watching while some of my twentyish neighbors pollock-ized a white surfboard. it looked gooooooood.

posted by .  on  02/12  at  10:54 AM


i appreciate your enthusiasm for mr. pollock t, though i was, of course, being a smart ass, pointing out that a human could not tell the difference between the work of an artistic “genius” and a cheap forgery… though i suppose a forgery could have its own genius… damn you tom and your blasted sincerity!!!

posted by jmorrison  on  02/12  at  11:15 AM


ah! my sarcazz-sensors were temporarily down. but, anyway, i do find it interesting that pollock would make artwork that could be identified that way, when most everybody else’s work seems to be purely by guess and by golly, with experts being fooled by forgeries in ghod only knows how many cases.

incidentally, this reminds me of a forgery i myself examined, which is still somewhat valuable.

a few years back, my brother-in-law bought an old violin and bow from the old lady who lived across from my in-laws, for 400 bucks. he’s a talented guitarist in the bluegrass and swing idioms, and lives in japan with wife and children on her parents’ rice farm. he’s a go-getting make-it-happener, and i envy this. anyway, the old lady was a bit of a blueblood, once a high-ranked tennis player, only son died mountain-climbing; when she died she left the house to the people next door. when young, she was given this violin by her tutor, and when bro-in-law steve bought it, we examined it. i took a watercolor brush and pushed the dust off the paper label inside. it read something like this: lavrentius gvadagnini pater, alvmnvs a. stradivari, milan (if I remember correctly). you needn’t be that much of a scholar to know that this implied he studied under stradivari and was somebody’s father.

So I found a book on antique violins and bows at the library, and if genuine, a lorenzo guadagnini violin (“the poor man’s strad”) would be worth six figures. Incidentally, the bow had a silver ferrule which resembled those made by vuillaume, but i didn’t pursue this. it seemed unimportant. the violin looked right, but the city was not one where lorenzo was known to work.

so, steve had it appraised. the verdict: nice bow; the violin, a german black forest forgery, but still a couple centuries old. and a very good instrument, or it wouldn’t fool anyone. the bow was the more valuable of the two, for a total of about ten thou.

More recently I have heard that his bow has been appraised again and identified as a vuillaume, and will eventually pay for his sons’ college.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guadagnini
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vuillaume

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