Saturday, April 18, 2015

Supersized FAKE DUCHAMP-VILLON donated to the Detroit Institute of Arts

Originally published June 5, 2007 [Updated April 18, 2015]

NOTE: All footnotes are enclosed as [FN].
















“PHOTO COURTESY OF THE DIA The Grand Horse (1914) is Duchamp-Villon's most important achievement as an artist and is a landmark of cubist sculpture.” americajr.com/news/taubmansculpture.html


The so-called “$2 million gift”[FN 1] of a “Raymond Duchamp-Villon’s Le Cheval Majeur (The Grand Horse) Installed in the College for Creative Studies’ Josephine F. Ford Sculpture Garden”[FN 2] at the Detroit Institute of Arts, is actually a non-disclosed posthumous (after 1966) supersized[FN 3] “something that’s not what it purports to be”[FN 4] which is one legal definition of -fake-.

Raymond Duchamp-Villon died in 1918.

In 1966, some forty-eight odd years after Raymond Duchamp-Villon’s death, his lifetime original 17 1/2 inch high (44 cm.) Le Cheval a.k.a. The Horse was posthumously -supersized- to approximately 5 feet in height (“150 cm.”)[FN 5] and cast in bronze.

To add insult to injury a counterfeit “R. Duchamp-Villon” signature was inscribed and a false “1914” date and edition number were applied to create the illusion that Raymond Duchamp-Villon created and limited it during his lifetime, much less approved it.

By definition under their Getty Vocabulary Program the term “sculptor” is defined as: “Artists who specialize in creating images and forms that are carried out primarily in three dimensions, generally in the media of stone, wood, or metal.”[FN 6]

The dead don't specialize in creating anything.

Under U.S. Copyright Law 101. Definitions, a “work of visual art” ie. “sculpture” is defined as: “multiple cast, carved, or fabricated sculptures of 200 or fewer that are consecutively numbered by the author and bear the signature or other identifying mar k of the author.”[FN 7] 

The dead don't sign and number.

Under New York Civil Code 11.01 Definitions,"’counterfeit’ means a work of fine art or multiple made, altered or copied, with or without intent to deceive, in such manner that it appears or is claimed to have an authorship which it does not in fact possess.”[FN 8] 

The dead don't sculpt.

The Detroit Institute of Arts' director Graham W. J. Beal is a current member of the Association of Art Museum Directors.[FN 9]

The Association of Art Museum Directors endorses the College Art Association’s ethical guidelines on sculptural reproduction. In part, those guidelines state: “all unauthorized enlargements - unless specifically condoned by the artist - should be considered as inauthentic - not be acquired by museums or exhibited as works of art.”[FN 10]

The dead don't condone.

Yet, despite their own endorsed ethical guidelines, the Detroit Institute of Arts' March 13, 2007 “A. ALFRED TAUBMAN GIVES $2 MILLION SCULPTURE” Press Release quotes the DIA director Graham W. J. Beal referring to this non-disclosed “inauthentic” bronze as an: “exceptional sculpture,” not to mention the donor and DIA Trustee A. Alfred Taubman stating it is a: “truly magnificent work of art."[FN 11]

This excerpt from Detroit Institute of Arts' October 3, 2005 press release titled: "The Bronze Basher" will give some insight to the Detroit Institute of Art and its director Graham W. J. Beal's tactics to diminish the messenger when confronted with the truth:
  • Beware Detroit! The Bronze Basher Is at it Again!
    Adversary of art scholarship aims more false claims at the DIA

    October 3, 2005 (Detroit)—In 2002, Florida gallery owner Gary Arseneau tried, unsuccessfully, to convince local media and Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) visitors that the sculptures in one of the museum’s most successful exhibitions in its history were fakes. It’s a good thing that the nearly 500,000 people from around the world who enjoyed Degas and the Dance didn’t fall for his claims.
    Arseneau, whose irresponsible allegations have been refuted by scholars around the world, is at it again, this time targeting the DIA’s upcoming exhibition Camille Claudel and Rodin: Fateful Encounter. The exhibition, featuring over 100 masterpieces by Claudel and Rodin, opens Oct. 9 and runs through Feb. 5, 2006. The DIA is the only U.S. venue for Fateful Encounter.
    In three rambling documents sent to the museum and the media, Arseneau claims that many of the sculptures in the exhibition are fakes or reproductions. The museum emphatically denies his claims, which completely disregard the facts and the scholarship of curators and museum professionals from around the world.
    Since 1999, Arseneau has conducted this same, tired routine on acclaimed exhibitions and museums across the United States, Canada and Europe. Shortly before an exhibition opens, he hits local media with inflammatory emails that denounce the sculptures in a given exhibition as fakes or reproductions. His “proof” is that many of the bronze sculptures were cast posthumously, and carry the artist’s signature. In the case of Rodin’s sculptures, this allegation crumbles when the terms of Rodin’s will and French law are examined.
    Rodin willed his entire estate to France with the stipulation that a museum devoted to his works be established, which is the Musée Rodin. He authorized the casting of his work after his death, with no limit imposed on the number of casts, as he wanted to ensure the broad dissemination of his art. Rodin intended his original plasters and molds, which he considered the essence of his art, be used to create additional casts after his death. The Musée Rodin has faithfully complied with Rodin’s wishes.
    DIA Director Graham W. J. Beal regards Arseneau’s attacks as a temporary annoyance, and he will not allow the museum to become distracted by a non-issue. “Mr. Arseneau’s increasingly wild claims are also increasingly counter-productive,” he said, “It is becoming more and more clear that his ill-founded accusations run counter to the facts and spirit of the serious contemporary scholarship that seeks to clarify the activities and intentions of French artists of the late 19th and early 20th century. Every single work of art in Fateful Encounter is legitimate and the research revealed in the catalogue’s essays correspondingly impeccable.”[FN 12] 

Yet, in a June 3-7, 2003 minutes for the Association of Art Museum Directors meeting in Dallas, Texas, the Detroit Institute of Arts director Graham W. J. Beal seemed to have a more candid response: 
  • "In the past few years, Gary Arseneau, has pursued special exhibitions that feature late 19th- and early 20th-century bronzes - notably those by Degas and Rodin – across the country, accusing art museums of showing fakes. He uses 16 page, footnoted press releases to stir up local media; a tactic that has enjoyed varied degrees of success. The crux of his argument is the AAMD’s endorsement of the CAA’s resolution. In light of the considerable research that has taken place, and to address the apparent conflict between our values and practices, the Art Issue committee concluded that the CAA be asked to update the resolution, with input from this committee. Failing that, the AAMD would reconsider its endorsement."[FN 13] 
Quite an admission in 2003 by the Detroit Institute of Arts director Graham W. J. Beal: "the apparent conflict between our values and practices."

Rhetorically, shouldn't the public be given full and honest disclosure by the Detroit Institute of Arts and its director Graham W. J. Beal of "the apparent conflict between our values and practices" so they might be able to give informed consent on whether to patronize a museum that thinks so little of the true legacy of the artists it pretends to have in their collection, much less in their exhibitions?

Finally, would this misrepresentation, by a museum director and museum trustee (a former auction house CEO) of a posthumous supersized -fake- as a “sculpture” and “work of art" for millions of dollars of consideration, be potentially “a knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment”[FN 14] which is one legal definition of -fraud-?

In closing, this is just a part of the untold legacy of Alfred Taubman, the Detroit Institute of Arts and its director Graham W. J. Beal. 

Caveat Emptor!


For additional information on contentious of authenticity with the Detroit Institute of Arts, link to: 21 FAKE RODINS & CLAUDELS at the Detroit Institute...


FOOTNOTES:
1. www.dia.org/PressRelease/showpressreleases.asp?ID=342
2. Ibid
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supersize “Supersized was a trademark that referred to the largest portion size available in meals offered by . A smaller meal portion could be made larger by Supersizing the meal. It was initially adopted positively, and in common use meant to make something better by increasing its size. The term is no longer in use for its original purpose, due to negative connotations with . Supersize McDonald's Supersizing obesity.” Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
4. page 617, Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, ISBN 0-314-22864-0
5. search.sothebys.com/jsps/live/lot/LotDetail.jsp?lot_id=ZM2H
6. J. Paul Getty Trust’s www.getty.edu website, under their Getty Vocabulary Program the term “sculptor” is defined as: “Artists who specialize in creating images and forms that are carried out primarily in three dimensions, generally in the media of stone, wood, or metal.”
7. http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#101 U.S. Copyright Law 101. Definitions, a “work of visual art” ie. “sculpture” is defined as: “multiple cast, carved, or fabricated sculptures of 200 or fewer that are consecutively numbered by the author and bear the signature or other identifying mark of the author.” 
8. http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/ACA/C/11/11.01 "’Counterfeit’ means a work of fine art or multiple made, altered or copied, with or without intent to deceive, in such manner that it appears or is claimed to have an authorship which it does not in fact possess.” (New Civil Code 11.01 Definitions)
9. www.aamd.org
10. www.collegeart.org/caa/ethics/sculpture.html “A Statement on Standards for Sculptural Reproduction and Preventive Measures to Combat Unethical Casting in Bronze Approved by the CAA Board of Directors, April 27, 1974. Endorsed by the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Art Dealers Association of America.”
11. www.dia.org/PressRelease/showpressreleases.asp?ID=342
12. Association of Art Museum Directors, “Forum: AAMD Wide Messages Topic: Minutes - Dallas, June 3 - 7, 2003”
13. MEDIA ADVISORY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Beware Detroit! The Bronze Basher Is at it Again! Adversary of art scholarship aims more false claims at the DIA
  • October 3, 2005 (Detroit)—In 2002, Florida gallery owner Gary Arseneau tried, unsuccessfully, to convince local media and Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) visitors that the sculptures in one of the museum’s most successful exhibitions in its history were fakes. It’s a good thing that the nearly 500,000 people from around the world who enjoyed Degas and the Dance didn’t fall for his claims.
    Arseneau, whose irresponsible allegations have been refuted by scholars around the world, is at it again, this time targeting the DIA’s upcoming exhibition Camille Claudel and Rodin: Fateful Encounter. The exhibition, featuring over 100 masterpieces by Claudel and Rodin, opens Oct. 9 and runs through Feb. 5, 2006. The DIA is the only U.S. venue for Fateful Encounter.
    In three rambling documents sent to the museum and the media, Arseneau claims that many of the sculptures in the exhibition are fakes or reproductions. The museum emphatically denies his claims, which completely disregard the facts and the scholarship of curators and museum professionals from around the world.
    Since 1999, Arseneau has conducted this same, tired routine on acclaimed exhibitions and museums across the United States, Canada and Europe. Shortly before an exhibition opens, he hits local media with inflammatory emails that denounce the sculptures in a given exhibition as fakes or reproductions. His “proof” is that many of the bronze sculptures were cast posthumously, and carry the artist’s signature. In the case of Rodin’s sculptures, this allegation crumbles when the terms of Rodin’s will and French law are examined.
    Rodin willed his entire estate to France with the stipulation that a museum devoted to his works be established, which is the Musée Rodin. He authorized the casting of his work after his death, with no limit imposed on the number of casts, as he wanted to ensure the broad dissemination of his art. Rodin intended his original plasters and molds, which he considered the essence of his art, be used to create additional casts after his death. The Musée Rodin has faithfully complied with Rodin’s wishes.
    DIA Director Graham W. J. Beal regards Arseneau’s attacks as a temporary annoyance, and he will not allow the museum to become distracted by a non-issue. “Mr. Arsenau’s increasingly wild claims are also increasingly counter-productive,” he said, “It is becoming more and more clear that his ill-founded accusations run counter to the facts and spirit of the serious contemporary scholarship that seeks to clarify the activities and intentions of French artists of the late 19th and early 20th century. Every single work of art in Fateful Encounter is legitimate and the research revealed in the catalogue’s essays correspondingly impeccable.”
    Backgrounder on the Authenticity of the Bronze Casts in Camille Claudel and Rodin: Fateful Encounter
    In the second half of the 19th century, artists and their works became increasingly more accessible: critics and reporters wrote stories and articles that engaged the public in the works and personal lives of artists, and purchasing art was becoming more common and fashionable. Steering away from the traditional means of making a living solely from single commissions, artists began creating multiple versions of their original artworks as lucrative commodities.
    In order to produce as many casts as possible for sale to the public, artists often delegated this
    job to employees in their studios. Though they followed the artist’s specific direction, the artist himself did not generally supervise his employees while they cast one of his sculptures.
    Rodin often made multiple versions of the same work, especially toward the end of his life as he began to concern himself with posterity and the continuation of his legacy. Rodin often produced multiple versions of his most popular works, such as The Thinker, produced in different sizes and with detail variations.
    The year before he died, in 1916, Rodin willed his entire estate and collection to France, along with the right to cast his works posthumously with the plasters and molds he left behind. Since its establishment in 1919, the Musée Rodin in Paris has been responsible for overseeing the endowment Rodin left for the French government, and regulating the use of these plasters and molds. In order to preserve the very special qualities inherent in a limited edition, in 1966 the French government limited the number of bronzes that can be produced from a single cast to 12. Before 1966 artists or their estates could cast as many bronzes as they wished. This law applies to all French artists.
    In the case of Rodin’s work, the Musée Rodin adheres strictly to the stipulations of the French government and those of the artist to ensure there is no breach of the law with the casts they produce. Quality can, however, vary with each individual cast, despite the authentic mold. To protect the quality of the piece, an expert from the Musée Rodin scrutinizes each sculpture produced in order to maintain quality and integrity of Rodin’s work.
    ###
    Exhibition organized by Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, in Quebec City, with Musée Rodin in Paris. In Detroit, the exhibition has been made possible by a generous grant from the DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund. Additional support provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the City of Detroit.
    The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that include a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth.
    The DIA will present a dynamic schedule of programs and activities for all ages, even as the museum’s building is undergoing a major renovation. Visitors can enjoy some of the DIA’s “greatest hits” while the museum prepares for an entirely new installation when renovations are completed in late 2007.
    Museum hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For special exhibition hours during the Super Bowl weekend, please visit dia.org.
    Admission is a donation. We recommend $6 for adults and $3 for children. DIA members are admitted free. For membership information call 313-833-7971.
    Programs are made possible with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the City of Detroit.
    The DIA acknowledges Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Canada, for sharing their media strategy.
    Contact: Pamela Marcil 313-833-7899 pmarcil@dia.org Peter VanDyke 313-833-9151 pvandyke@dia.org 
14. Page 670 of the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, ISBN 0-314-22864-0
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