Saturday, February 13, 2010

DEGAS BRONZE FORGERIES, The ABCs of one of the largest art frauds of the 20th/21st century.

September 23, 2006 (Updated March 12, 2011)

NOTE: All footnotes are enclosed as [FN ].


















 



PREFACE
Edgar Degas -never- worked exclusively in wax, much less cast in bronze.

Additionally, Edgar Degas expressly stated his intentions during his lifetime that he did -not- want to cast in bronze.

Furthermore, Edgar Degas never signed his original lifetime mixed-media sculptures.

Yet, there are some 1,850[FN 1] 2nd to 3rd-generation-removed bronze forgeries, promoted as -Edgar Degas sculptures- all with a so-called “Degas” signature inscribed to them, that can be found in museums, cultural institutions and collections around the world.

How’d he do that?

On page 661 of the Seventh Edition of Black's Law Dictionary, -forgery- is defined as: "the act of fraudulently making a false document or altering a real one to be used as if genuine."[FN 2]

The facts are all bronzes, attributed to Edgar Degas, are nothing more than second to third-generation or more removed -forgeries-, posthumously forged anytime between 1919 to 1956 or later, with counterfeit “Degas” signatures posthumously inscribed to create the illusion that he created and approved them, much less signed them.

Edgar Degas died in 1917.

The dead don’t sculpt, much less sign.

On page 670 of the Seventh Edition of Black's Law Dictionary, -fraud- is defined as: "A knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment."[FN 3]

This monograph documents this 20th/21st-century fraud.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFACE
1. NEVER CAST IN BRONZE
2. NEVER WORKED IN WAX
3. WORKED IN MIXED-MEDIA
4. RECONSTRUCTED
5. ARMATURES ELIMINATED
6. 1ST-GENERATION-REMOVED
7. PALAZZOLO'S FINGERPRINTS
8. 2ND-GENERATION-REMOVED
9. 3RD-GENERATION-REMOVED
10. COUNTERFEIT SIGNATURES
11. EDITIONS NOT LIMITED
12. STILL BEING FORGED
13. AAMD & CAA ETHICS
14. CHOCOLATE BUNNIES
15. DEFINITIONS
16. NEA VIOLATES MANDATE
17. NOT A FRENCH PROVINCE
18. WIRE FRAUD & MAIL FRAUD
CONCLUSION
POSTSCRIPT
FOOTNOTES


1. NEVER CAST IN BRONZE
It is amazing how many in the museum/academic world, much less the huge majority of the public does not have a clue that Edgar Degas never cast his sculptures in bronze and expressly did not want his sculptures cast into bronze.

This widespread misconception is addressed in a College Art Association’s published spring 1995 “art journal,” in a Degas Bronzes? article by Roger J. Crum. On page 95, the author wrote: “In Wilken’s essay we read that in 1921 Francois Thiebault-Sisson recalled that Degas had once said: I modeled animals and people in wax for my own satisfaction, not to take to rest from painting or drawing, but to give more expression, more spirit, and more life to my paintings and drawings. They are exercises to get me started. My sculptures will never give that impression of completion that is the ultimate goal of the statue-maker’s trade and since, after all, no one will ever see these efforts, no one should think of speaking about them, not even you. After my death all that will fall apart by itself, and that will be better for my reputation. (p. 23).”[FN 4]

This is further confirmed in the National Gallery of Art’s published 1998 Degas at the Races catalogue. On page 180 in Daphne S. Barbour’s and Shelly G. Sturman’s “The Horse in Wax and Bronze” essay, these authors wrote: “Degas never cast his sculpture in bronze, claiming that it was a “tremendous responsibility to leave anything behind in bronze -- the medium is for eternity.”[FN 5]

2. NEVER WORKED IN WAX
Amazingly, the majority of the museum/academic world, not to mention the public, believes that Edgar Degas created his sculptures in “wax” which were subsequently used for casting in bronze.










Edgar Degas original sculptures were not made of -wax-.

Once again, this is confirmed in the National Gallery of Art’s published 1998 Degas at the Races catalogue. On page 180 in Daphne S. Barbour’s and Shelly G. Sturman’s “The Horse in Wax and Bronze” essay, these authors wrote: “Not a single sculpture has been found to be made exclusively of wax, and none was intended to be sacrificed and melted during lost-wax casting.”[FN 6]

What that means is all the so-called -bronzes- posthumously reproduced and misleading attributed to Edgar Degas as -sculptures- could not have been even direct reproductions of his original mixed-media sculptures.

Why? Because, as documented, they were -not- exclusively created by Edgar Degas in -wax- for lost-wax casting in bronze.

3. WORKED IN MIXED-MEDIA
Edgar Degas’ original sculptures were made in “mixed-media.”










This is confirmed in the National Gallery of Art’s published 1998 Degas at the Races catalogue. On page 180 in Daphne S. Barbour’s and Shelly G. Sturman’s “The Horse in Wax and Bronze” essay, these authors wrote: “Degas’ quixotic technique, in which he used such material as cork, wood, paper, and paint brushes on the interior, and cloth, paper, or color on the exterior.”[FN 7]

On page 35 of the National Gallery of Art’s published 2010 Edgar Degas Sculpture catalogue by Daphne S. Barbour and Shelley G. Sturman, the authors wrote: “As a material readily available, corks are found inside Degas’ sculpture thoughout his oeuvre, from his earliest to his latest works. In addition to cork, matches, paintbrushes, and rope are also found; perhaps, for the sake of economy and convenience, Degas used what was near at hand.”[FN 8]


4. RECONSTRUCTED

When Edgar Degas died in 1917, his mixed-media sculptures were discovered in this studio in various states of disrepair and fragments.

This is confirmed on page 25 of Charles W. Milliard’s 1976 Sculptures of Edgar Degas where the author quotes Edgar Degas’ friend and dealer Joseph Durand-Ruel in a June 7, 1919 letter to Royal Cortissoz, art critic of the New York Tribune. In his letter, Joseph Durand-Ruel wrote: “Degas must have made an enormous number of clay or wax figures, but as he never took care of them--he never had them put in bronze--they always fell to pieces after a few years, and for that reason it is only the later ones that now exist. When I made the inventory of Degas’ possessions, I found about 150 pieces scattered over his three floors in every possible place. Most of them were in pieces, some almost reduced to dust.”[FN 9]

Furthermore, on page 26, the author Charles W. Millard gives a prime example when he wrote: “Seated Woman Wiping her Left Hip (Fig. 137) lacked its head when first found {after Degas’ death}, for example.” Footnote (93) states: “A photograph of it in this condition exists in Durand-Ruel Archives and was published by Borel, Sculpture {B. 114}.”[FN 10]

This same Edgar Degas Seat Woman Wiping her Left Hip[FN 11] mixed-media sculpture is now in the National Gallery of Art’s collection except it now has her -head- attached.

5. ARMATURES ELIMINATED
After Edgar Degas’ death in 1917, the armatures and wires that were part of Degas’s sculptures were subjectively eliminated.















On page 13, of the 2002 Degas Sculptures, Catalogue Raisonne of the Bronzes, the editor Joseph S. Czestochowski describes how Degas’ original mixed-media sculptures were reconstructed and altered for casting in bronze. The author wrote that Edgar Degas’: “original wax and mixed-media sculptures were stabilized to varying degrees by other hands in preparation for the initial casting process. The most notable change was the elimination of the armatures that for Degas were an integral part of each composition.”[FN 12]

On page 31, in Charles W. Millard’s 1976 The Sculpture of Edgar Degas, this is potentially answered later when the author wrote: “On his arrival {after Degas’ death}, Palazzolo’s first job {founder} was to put the waxes in condition for casting, a job which involved strengthening the figures, removing unnecessarily protruding bits of armature, etc.”[FN 13]

6. 1ST-GENERATION-REMOVED
After the posthumous reconstruction and altering of Edgar Degas’ original mixed-media sculptures, so-called “duplicates” in wax were reproduced from them.










On page 14 of the 2002 Degas Sculptures, Catalogue Raisonne of the Bronzes catalogue, the editor Joseph S. Czestochowski describes process in which Degas’ original mixed-media sculptures were posthumously reproduced in “wax” for casting in bronze. Additionally, the author wrote: “The duplicate wax was then used to cast by cire perdue or lost-wax method a modele or master bronze cast, which was then compared with originals for surface detail and color. The process was repeated with the modele bronze cast being used to make a new gelatin mold that was then used to make other wax casts.”[FN 14]

These posthumous wax reproductions, of Edgar Degas’ mixed-media sculptures, reproduced by Albino Palazzolo and his Hebrard foundry is additionally confirmed on page 32 of Charles W. Millard’s 1979 The Sculptures of Edgar Degas, the author quotes, in part, the Art Historian Jean Adhemar stating: “The duplicate wax figure, being expendable, was cast by ordinary lost-wax method with the advantage that the resulting bronze cast could be compared with Degas original wax and given the same tone and finish.”[FN 15]

Since Edgar Degas was dead when these so-called “duplicate wax[es]” were reproduced, whose judgment, much less fingers, were substituted for the artist when they were “given the same tone and finish?”

Before answering that question, consider that on page XII in the National Gallery of Art’s published 2010 Edgar Degas Sculptures catalogue, under the subtitle: “Guide to the Use of the Catalogue,” it states: “works revealed by analysis as combination of wax and other materials are called waxes, as Degas himself called them in his letters.”[FN 16]

Additionally, consider that on page 356 in the National Gallery of Art’s published 2010 Edgar Degas Sculpture catalogue, under the subtitle: “Glossay,” -intermodel- is defined as: “Wax copy of an original artist’s model made in a mold taken of the original; also referred to as a sacrificial wax. It is a wax melted out and lost in an indirect cast. As a method, it preserves the original artist’s model.”[FN 17]

Now compare those two independent references to page 28 of the “Degas’ Bronzes Analyzed” essay by Shelley G. Sturman and Daphne S. Barbour in the National Gallery of Art’s published 2010 Edgar Degas Sculpture catalogue, where the authors wrote: “In terms of overall surface quality, the bronzes appear to be smooth, faithful reproductions of the waxes. In some cases, however, tooling is not visible on the bronze where it is present on a wax. This discrepancy may be the result of additional work to the waxes after casting or to degeneration of the molds used for the casting, with the result that some of the casts, regardless of their letter sequence, may have less detail tha others. For instance, there is a finger print on the bronze versin of Horse Racing (cat. 10) that is no present on the wax (cat. 9). Here even a foundryman’s fingerprint while handling the wax intermodel was reproduced in bronze. Adhemar notes that Palazzolo was abel to detect a fake Degas bronze because he knew where to find his own fingerprints on the originals.”[FN 18]

Therefore, according to this Edgar Degas Sculpture catalogue, “waxes” are really mixed-media and those mixed-media are reproduced to make the “wax intermodel” that are actually the ones used for casting in bronze.

In other words, because Edgar Degas’ original mixed-media sculptures (confusingly referred to as “waxes” by the National Gallery of Art) could not be cast directly into bronze, they had to be posthumously reproduced, in part, by hand (not Degas’ hands because he was dead) as 1st-generation-removed lost-wax reproductions ie., “wax intermodel” which were used to cast the 2nd-generation removed bronze forgeries which were then used to cast the final 3rd-generation removed bronze forgeries ie., surmoulages.

7. PALAZZOLO'S FINGERPRINTS
When the wax reproductions were posthumously reproduced from Edgar Degas original reconstructed and altered sculptures, whose fingerprints would be in them?

As it turns out, obviously not Degas’ fingerprints.

















This perspective is confirmed in the Joseph S. Czestochowski’s and Anne Pingeot’s 2002 Degas Sculptures, Catalogue Raisonne of the Bronzes catalogue. On page 32, the Musee d’Orsay curator Anne Pingeot wrote: “[Jean] Adhemar [Art Historian] continued: “I asked M. Palazzolo if he would be able to recognize a false Degas bronze. Smiling, he said that he could, because he knew where to find his own fingerprints on the originals.”[FN 19]

These posthumous changes are additionally confirmed in the 1984 Degas in The Art Institute of Chicago catalogue by Richard R. Brettell and Suzanne Folds McCullagh. On page 152, the authors wrote: “Degas’s bronzes resemble the originals in form, but differ considerably in hue, density, and surface quality.”[FN 20]

8. 2ND-GENERATION-REMOVED
The first-generation removed reproductions in wax, made from the posthumously reconstructed and altered Edgar Degas mixed-media sculptures with the founder and foundry worker's fingerprints in them, were subsequently used to cast the second-generation removed forgeries in bronze.










This perspective is confirmed by the Norton Simon Museum on their website, where it states: “The seventy-one unique Simon modèles are the original bronzes cast from Degas' waxes, and served as the foundry models to forge all of the subsequent sets.”[FN 21]

Furthermore, this Norton Simon Museum’s website further perpetuates misinformation that Edgar Degas worked in “wax” when it states: “Degas was the only member of the Impressionist circle to generate a major body of sculpture. He sculpted his figures from a soft modeling material chiefly composed of wax. He preserved these wax sculptures in his studio for many years, and they were found shortly after his death in 1917. It was left to Degas' heirs and executor to oversee the casting in bronze of these wax originals. At the Hébrard foundry in Paris, a special studio was built for the difficult and delicate work of reproducing these waxes in bronze.”[FN 22]

9. 3RD-GENERATION-REMOVED
As already documented, with the exception of 73 second-generation removed bronze forgeries a.k.a. “masters” in the collection of the California located Norton Simon Museum, all so-called “Degas bronzes” are third-generation removed forgeries ie., “surmoulages.”










This perspective is confirmed in the essay “Degas; The Sculptures,” by Hirshhorn Curator of Sculpture Valerie J. Fletcher, published in Ann Dumas and David A. Brenneman’s 2001 Degas and America The Early Collectors catalogue. On page 78, the author wrote: “In 1919-20 Hebrard’s founder Albino Palazzolo, made a first set of {Degas} bronzes. -- Those 'masters' served to make molds for casting edition of twenty-two bronzes. Technically, all bronzes except the master set are surmoulages.”'[FN 23]

In the ARTnews' published November 1974 "Flagrant Abuses, Pernicious Practices and Counterfeit Sculpture are Widespread" article, the Associate Editor Sylvia Hochfield defines -surmoulage- as: “smaller in scale and of demonstrably diminished definition than the bronze from which it was cast.”[FN 24]

In a Artforum International published May 1, 1997 “The Nasher Collection” article, the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory at Columbia University and author Rosaland E. Krauss wrote: “For those out of the loop, chocolate bunny is an expression of contempt for a work that is not only cast posthumously but drawn from a sur-moulage, a mold taken from the outside of an existing, finished work rather than from a plaster matrix intended for the purpose.”[FN 25]

Rosalind E. Krauss continues by giving an example of a “chocolate bunny” when she wrote: “The Julio Gonzalez Woman with a Mirror, handily cast in bronze by the artist's estate in 1980 from a welded iron work ca. 1936-37, stands proudly in the Guggenheim, although it was edited out when the Nasher Collection was installed in 1987 at the National Gallery in Washington.”[FN 26]

In other words, by avoiding using the hypothetical original mixed-media models for casting in bronze, they have willingly given up the authentic original surface details made by the working fingers of Degas himself. Each time the surface of one of these subjects is approximated by the necessary crude handling of the materials used in the reproduction processes, there is visible change. The resulting pieces may be interesting to look at, but it is an absurdity to pretend they are just the way Degas would have wanted and intended for them to appear.

10. COUNTERFEIT SIGNATURES
All so-called -Degas bronzes- have a so-called “Degas” signature inscribed to them. The only problem is Edgar Degas -never- signed his original mixed-media sculptures.










This is confirmed on the National Gallery of Art’s website, where it states: “By comparing the sculpture to stylistic changes in Degas' paintings and pastels, we are developing a chronology for the sculpture, which Degas did not date or sign.”[FN 27]









On page 32-33 in Charles W. Milliard’s 1976 The Sculpture of Edgar Degas, the author wrote: “Each cast is stamped with the legend 'cire perdue A.A. Hebrard' in relief, and incised with the signature ‘Degas.’” Later on page 34, the author wrote: “At least some of the casts were set on wooden bases into which the signature “Degas” was burned.”[FN 28]

On page 1387 in the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, the term -signature- is defined as: “A person’s name or mark written by that person or at the person’s direction.”[FN 29]

The posthumous “incision” or “burn{ing}” of a so-called “signature ‘Degas’” to these posthumously forged second to third-generation removed bronzes creates the illusion that somehow Edgar Degas either created these so-called bronzes, much less approve their creation, when in fact he did neither. Edgar Degas was dead at the time and therefore this so-called “signature ‘Degas’” could not have been “written by that person or at the person’s direction.”

On page 354 of the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, -counterfeit- is defined as: “To forge, copy, or imitate (something) without a right to do so and with the purpose of deceiving or defrauding.”[FN 30]

Was the posthumous “incision” or “burn[ing]” of so-called “Degas” signatures to these posthumously forged second to third-generation removed bronzes done “with the purpose of deceiving or defrauding?”

11. EDITIONS NOT LIMITED
On page 14 of the Degas Sculpture catalogue, in Joseph S. Czestochowski’s "Degas’s Sculptures Re-examined” essay, the author wrote: “Almost eight months after Degas died in September 1917, a contract to cast the sculptures in bronze was signed on 13 May 1918. - The contract authorized that the number of casts be strictly limited to only twenty-two examples of each of the sculptures, with only twenty of the cast available for sale - first set reserved for the artist’s heirs and another set reserved for the Hebrard Foundry.”[FN 31]

Unfortunately, the edition limitation set out by the Degas heirs’ and promoted as gospel by many academia, museums and auction houses is a lie.

On page 265 of the Degas Sculpture catalogue, the editor Joseph S. Czestochowski wrote the so-called “Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen” bronze has: “Editions: 29 casts known and located (cast 1922-1937 or later).”[FN 32]

Adrien A. Hebrard, the founder entrusted in 1918 to reproduced Degas’ original mixed-media models into bronze in a limited edition, was corrupt.

This is, in part, documented on page 15 of the Degas Sculpture catalogue, in Joseph S. Czestochowski’s “Degas’s Sculptures Re-examined” essay, where the author wrote: “By 1921, several sets of sculpture were completed. Hebrard, even though he was not an heir, marked his set HER (foe herities) and marked the sculptures that were destined for the heirs HER. D (for herities Degas) instead of the numeral 1 as required by the contract”[FN 33]

Additionally, Joseph S. Czestochowski wrote that Hebrard created “duplicates” by misleading marking them as “HER,” created an unauthorized set of bronzes “marked MODELE” and “released an unknown number of test casts, marked AP (founder’s initials), - FR MODELE (founder’s model), - FR (founder), - and a number of other exceptions to the 1918 contract.”[FN 34]

In the 2000 Degas and America, The Early Collectors catalogue, Footnotes 8 on page 81, of the “Degas: The Sculptures” essay by the Hirshhorn Museum curator of sculpture Valerie J. Fletcher, the author wrote: “the total number of {Degas} bronzes to roughly 1,850.”[FN 35]

12. STILL BEING FORGED
On page 247 of the “Catalogue Notes,” in the 2000 Degas and America, The Early Collectors catalogue, the Hirshhorn Museum curator of sculpture Valerie J. Fletcher wrote: “It is possible that in recent years an additional cast may have been made (in photograph documenting a new cast of Rodin’s Thinker at the Valsuani foundry in Paris in late 1999 or early 2000, an unclothed Little Dancer appears in the background.)”[FN 36]


These suspicions are, in part, confirmed on the 2004 artnet.com’s website[FN 37] where the following is listed for sale by the Hirschl and Adler Galleries. [FN 38]



 

13. AAMD AND CAA ETHICS
A good majority of museums in America are members of the Association of Art Museum Directors. As a AAMD member, their ethical guidelines match common sense in that if the artist didn’t create and approve it, they should not be given credit for it.

In 1974, the Association of Art Museum Directors organization endorsed the College Art Association ethical guidelines on sculptural reproductions.










In part, these ethical guidelines state: “All bronze casting from finished bronzes, all unauthorized enlargements, and all transfers into new materials, unless specifically condoned by the artist, all works cast as a result of being in the public domain should be considered as inauthentic or counterfeit. Unauthorized casts of works in the public domain cannot be looked upon as accurate presentations of the artist’s achievement. Accordingly, in the absence of relevant laws and for moral reasons, such works should: -- Not be acquired by museums or exhibited as works of art.”[FN 39]

In other words, all Association of Art Museum Director member museums, that possess so-called -Degas bronzes-, would be overtly violating their own expressed endorsed ethical guidelines by exhibiting them, much less lending these objects to other museum venues for exhibition.

The Association of Art Museum Directors’ -Statement of Mission-, as adopted in June 1996, in part, states: “The purpose of the Association of Art Museum Directors is to aid its members in establishing and maintaining the highest professional standards for themselves and the museums they represent.”[FN 40]

Would the AAMD’s member violation of their own endorsed ethical guidelines be maintaining the highest professional standards?

On page 31 of the 2001 Association of Art Museum Director’s Professional Practices in Art Museums booklet, it is written that the: “misleading marketing of reproductions, has created such widespread confusion as to require clarification in order to maintain professional standards. - When producing and/or selling reproductions, museums must clearly indicate, through the use of integral markings on the objects, as well as signs, labels, and advertising, that these items are reproductions.”[FN 41]

Unfortunately, except for museum gift shops, the majority of the AAMD’s members do not do not fully disclose reproductions in museum exhibitions as -reproductions-.

The AAMD requires of their members that: (1) “When producing and/or selling reproductions - signatures, edition numbers, and/or foundry marks on sculpture must not appear on the reproduction.,” (2)“ ...the fact that they are reproductions should be clearly indicated on the object.” and (3) “When advertising reproductions, museums should not use language implying that there is any identity of quality between the copy and the original or lead the potential buyer to believe that by purchasing any such reproductions, he or she is acquiring an original work of art.”[FN 42]

14. CHOCOLATE BUNNIES
Museums’ ethical standards have become so convoluted and rarely adhered to, that a fourth-generation removed forgery is misleadingly disclosed in a museum’s gift shop as a reproduction but the third-generation-removed forgery used to forge it is promoted as an -original work of visual art- ie., sculpture.

Dozens of these non-disclosed third-generation-removed forgeries can be found in the 1988 Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Canada's published Degas catalogue for their February 9, 1988 to January 8, 1989 Degas exhibition that traveled from Galeries nationales du Grand Palais in Paris to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and finally to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

In this National Gallery of Canada’s published 1988 Degas catalogue, -all- of the so-called Edgar Degas -bronzes- are deceptively listed with dates that predate the Edgar Degas’ death in 1917.























Now contrast that representation “1867-68” dates to the disclosure on last page of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Canada’s published 1988 Degas catalogue. On that last page 609, before the “Key to Abbreviations,” one of the eight participating exhibition curators Gary Tinterow wrote: “The bronzes included in this exhibition, like those widely distributed throughout the world, are posthumous second-generation casts of the original wax sculptures by Degas.”[FN 43]

This devastating admission is additionally confirmed in the Art Institute of Chicago’s published 1984 Degas catalogue. On page 152, the authors Richard R. Brettell and Suzanne Folds McCullagh wrote: “Indeed, in evaluating a bronze by Degas, the viewer must always be aware that he is looking at a brilliant reproduction.”[FN 44]

The only difference between curator Gary Tinterow’s assertion that “Degas bronzes” are second-generation, is this scholar believes and documents that belief the posthumous wax reproductions, were made by the foundry from the posthumously reconstructed and altered sculptures, that were subsequently used for casting in bronze and therefore should to be considered the first-generation removed reproductions with the subsequent bronzes cast being second-generation removed forgeries and the subsequent bronzes from those bronzes ie., surmoulages a.k.a. -chocolate bunnies- being the third-generation removed forgeries.



Now these same Metropolitan Museum of Art’s third-generation removed -chocolate bunnies- a.k.a. bronze surmoulages, on display and misrepresented as -sculptures- a.k.a. as original works of visual art, are directly being used to cast fourth-generation removed forgeries for sale in their museum gift shop.

Furthermore, these fourth-generation removed forgeries are being licensed, by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for sale in other venues around the world.

This is confirmed on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s www.met.museum.org/store website under the title “The Molding Studio,” where, in part, it states:

  • “As the supervisor and master-moldmaker of the Molding Studio at the Metropolitan, Ron Street is responsible for creating reproductions of sculptures and other three-dimensional works of art in the Museum's collection. In collaboration with curators and conservators, he applies molding, modeling, laser scanning, technical drawing, and color sampling techniques to create extremely detailed epoxy prototypes derived from the original works of art.
  • “These prototypes, which closely approximate the color and form of the originals, serve as guides for manufacturers who reproduce them in larger quantities for sale in the Met Stores. Since original works of art are not permitted to leave the Museum for reproduction purposes, the likeness of the cast to the original is of critical importance. The reproductions are then returned to the Museum, where master craftspeople in the Molding Studio patinate each piece by hand in order to match the original artwork's finish and texture.”[FN 45]

In other words, some eighty odd years after Degas’s death in 1917, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has hired professionals to make fourth-generation removed forgeries of the third-generation removed -chocolate bunnies- a.k.a. bronze surmoulages that are directly attribute as Edgar Degas’ original works of visual art ie., sculptures in their collection.


What is the difference between a fourth-generation removed Edgar Degas “Horse at Trough” forgery offered for sale as a reproduction at "$175"[FN 46] each in the museum gift shop and a third-generation removed so-called Edgar Degas Horse at Trough bronze forgery ie., surmoulage exhibited in a museum for the public’s viewing for the price of adult admission?

The answer is: you don’t have to pay the price of admission to view the Horse at Trough forgery for sale in the Milwaukee Art Museum's Museum Store.

15. DEFINITIONS
Independently documenting the definitions of key terms is an effective way to truly document the facts behind the misrepresentation of reproductions and/or forgeries as original works of visual art ie., sculptures.

On page 1303 of the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, -representation- is defined as: “A presentation of fact - either by words or by conduct - made to induce someone to act, esp to enter into a contract.”[FN 47]

On page 381 of the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, -contract- is defined as: “An agreement between two or more parties creating obligations that are enforceable or otherwise recognizable at law.”[FN 48]

On page 372 in Ralph Mayer’s HarperCollins Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, the term -sculpture- is defined as: “The creation of three dimensional forms by carving, modeling or assembly. In carving, the sculptor removes unwanted material.... In modeling on the other hand, the sculptor creates a form by building it up...”[FN 49]

On the J. Paul Getty Trust’s website, under their Getty Vocabulary Program, where -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 50]

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 mark of the author.”[FN 51]

Furthermore, under U.S. Copyright Law 106A. Rights of Attribution - “shall not apply to any reproduction.”[FN 52]

On page 350 in Ralph Mayer’s HarperCollins Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, -reproduction- is defined as: “A general term for any copy, likeness, or counterpart of an original work of art or of a photograph, done in the same medium as the original or in another, and done by someone other than the creator of the original.”[FN 53]

Since Edgar Degas died in 1917, obviously anything posthumously reproduced would be, at best by definition and under U.S. Copyright Law, a -reproduction-.

On page 476 of the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, -disclosure- is defined as: “The act or process of making known something that was previously unknown.”[FN 54]

On page 70 of Ralph Mayer’s 1999 The HarperCollins Dictionary of Art Terms & Techniques, -cast- is defined as: “to reproduce an object, such as a piece of sculpture, by means of a MOLD.”[FN 55]

For anyone to make a representation, that objects in their collection or exhibition, are sculptures then at the end make the disclosure that they were cast ie., reproduced, as if these concepts were interchangeable, would be a -non-sequitur-.

On page 1080 of the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, -non-sequitur- is defined as: “An inference or conclusion that does not logically follow from the premises.”[FN 56]

In other words, by definition and under U.S. Copyright Law, you cannot call a reproduction a “work of visual art” ie., sculpture, much less attribute that reproduction to that artist whether they are alive or dead. Without full and honest disclosure to reproductions as reproductions by all museums, how can the consumer give informed consent before they chose to attend an exhibition whether they pay admission or not?

On page 300 of the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, -consent- is defined as: “Agreement, approval or permission as to some act or purpose, esp. given voluntarily by a competent person.”[FN 57]

On page 670 of the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, -fraud- is defined as: “A knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment.”[FN 58]

So, would a museum that misrepresents a posthumously cast second to third-generation removed bronze forgery as a -sculpture- be committing fraud ie., “a knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment?”

16. NEA VIOLATES MANDATE
In the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965, under Section 952. Definitions (b), the term “the arts” is defined as: “includes, but is not limited to, music (instrumental and vocal), dance, drama, folk art, creative writing, architecture and allied fields, painting, sculpture, photography, graphic and craft arts, industrial design, costume and fashion design, motion pictures, television, radio, film, video, tape and sound recording, the arts related to the presentation, performance, execution, and exhibition of such major art forms, all those traditional arts practiced by the diverse peoples of this country. [.] and the study and application of the arts to the human environment.”

Despite the statutory mandate by Congress to indemnify “the arts,” the National Endowment for the Arts has indemnified ie., insured non-disclosed third-generation-removed forgeries falsely attributed a dead Edgar Degas in dozens upon dozens of museum venues including but not limited to: Degas: The Complete Sculptures at the Boise Art Museum that opened on June 19, 2004 and Degas Sculptures at the Milwaukee Art Museum that opened on February 12, 2005.

Prior to the Boise Art Museum and Milwaukee Art Museum venues, this same exhibition titled Degas in Bronze opened on February 29 to May 30, 2004 at the Phoenix Art Museum.

On the Phoenix Art Museum’s website, in the first paragraph of this exhibition’s description, it stated: “Now, visitors to Phoenix Art Museum have an unprecedented opportunity to experience a complete set of all 73 of Edgar Degas’ sculptures come to life. It is an exploration, like no other, of motion, method and the artist’s mind. It is perhaps the most important body of sculpture produced in the 19th century.”[FN 59]

Now referencing this same exhibition description listed on their website, compare the Phoenix Art Museum’s first paragraph statement: “73 of Edgar Degas’ sculptures - most important body of sculpture produced in the 19th century” to their oxymoron-like admission in their fifth paragraph statement: “Upon his death in 1917 - his heirs chose 73 examples to be cast in bronze in a very limited edition.”[FN 60]

In other words, the Phoenix Art Museum was misrepresenting 20th-century 3rd-generation-removed forgeries as “19th-century - sculptures.”

The Phoenix Art Museum is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors. As documented, the AAMD’ s endorsed ethical guidelines for sculptural reproductions require the artist to condone the transfer into new material or supervise the casting of a bronze from a bronze otherwise those objects would be considered “inauthentic or counterfeit” and “should not be acquired or exhibited as works of art.”[FN 61]

The Phoenix Art Museum director James Ballinger is listed by the National Endowment for the Arts, on their website, as an exclusive member of the National Council for the Arts, as well as “a member of the board of directors of the Association of Art Museum Directors since 2002.”[FN 62]

Within the National Endowment for the Arts, listed under Section 955. National Council on the Arts, there is a “National Council on the Arts” referred to as the “Council.” In part, the Council’s responsibilities are to “make recommendations to the {NEA} Chairperson concerning - whether to approve particular applications for financial assistance” and whether it has “artistic excellence and artistic merit.”[FN 63]

Furthermore, under Section 972. Items eligible for indemnity agreements (a), it states: “The Council may make a indemnity agreement under this chapter with respect to - 1) works of art, including tapestries, paintings, sculpture, folk art, graphics and craft arts.”[FN 64]

In other words, the Phoenix Art Museum director James Ballingers not only violated his own endorsed ethical guidelines in accepting work for exhibition in his museum, either he knew or should have known were -counterfeit-, but as National Council for the Arts member, in all probability, participated in the approval of indemnifying the same counterfeit work going to fellow AAMD member museums: Boise Art Museum and the Milwaukee Art Museum.

As an independent federal agency and the official arts organization of the United States government, the National Endowment for the Arts states their -Mission- is: “a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education.”[FN 65]

17. NOT A FRENCH PROVINCE
There are quite a few in the museum and academic industry who will defend and have defended this fraud of misrepresenting posthumous reproductions and/or forgeries as original "works of visual art” ie., -sculptures- by making blanket statements that these posthumously reproduced and/or forged objects, on exhibition in American museums, adhere to -French Law- and therefore are -original-.

The United States of America is not a French province.

Despite misleading pronouncements by some in the museum industry, French law clearly mandates the disclosure of reproductions as -reproductions-.

The March 3, 1981 French decree no. 81.255, Article 918, in part, states: Article 9--All facsimiles, casts of casts, copies, or other reproductions of an original work of art as set out in Article 71 of Appendix III of the General Code of Taxes, executed after the date of effectiveness of the present decree, must carry in a visible and indelible manner the notation ‘Reproduction.’”[FN 66]

Where did anyone, much less the academia and museums, ever get the distorted idea that anything posthumously reproduced could somehow be considered under -French Law-, much less under U.S. federal, state or local laws, to be anything but a -reproduction-?

This is possibly answered by a French decree titled: “Article 1 of a joint decree by the Ministries of Culture and Finance, issued on 5 September 1978,” which regulates the internal administration of the Musee Rodin. In part, it states: -The reproduction of works of Rodin and the editions sold by the Musee Rodin consist of; -Original editions in bronze. These are executed from models in terra cotta or in plaster realized by Rodin.”[FN 67]

In this 1978 French decree, the term "original” is used as an adjective to describe and separate the Musee Rodin’s posthumous “editions” of reproductions in bronze of Rodin’s work from others who legally may posthumously reproduce in bronze any of Rodin’s work that is in the public domain.

Have some in the academia and museums latched onto a distorted interpretation of this French decree to self-servingly morph reproductions, much less forgeries, somehow into originals? This massively distorted perspective would obviously expose a serious lack of connoisseurship by those with otherwise impressive titles, credentials and experience.

In other words, only living artists can create -original works of visual art-. Anything posthumously reproduced would be, at best, a -reproduction- as obviously documented by the prior listed 1978 French decree which, once again in part, states: “reproduction of works.”

Quality aside, all so-called “Degas bronzes,” in any exhibition, at best, are no different than the reproductions and/or forgeries of Degas’ work offered for sale in any museum gift shop.

18. WIRE FRAUD AND MAIL FRAUD
In the March 17, 2004 News-10-Now’s “US Attorney’s Office investigates art fraud” story by Carmen Grant, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Fletcher is quoted as stating: “What we found is that Anthony Marone and William Yager conspired with one another, since at least as far back as 1999, to post on ebay for auction works of art that they represented to be original by original famous artists, and what they actually sold was counterfeit works of art. By doing that they committed several federal offenses including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud.”[FN 68]

Once again, on page 670 of the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, -fraud- is defined as: “A knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment.”[FN 69]

Would anyone, much less a museum, that misrepresents posthumous reproductions, much less second to third-generation-removed forgeries with posthumously inscribed counterfeit signatures, as original works of visual arts ie., sculptures for potential “admission fees,” “city-state-federal grants,” “corporate sponsorships,” “outright sales” and “tax write-offs,” be committing “a knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment” which is one legal definition of -fraud-?

CONCLUSION
What needs to be accomplished is the full and honest disclosure of reproductions as -reproductions- by all museums, auction houses and art dealers. If museums, auctions houses and art dealers will give full and honest disclosure to reproductions as: -reproductions- it would allow museum patrons to give informed consent if they chose to pay admission to see reproductions in any exhibition, much less whether the National Endowment for the Arts is to indemnify them.

But if the works, in question, are not even reproductions ie., copies of the artist’s original artwork but second generation or more removed -forgeries- and/or with counterfeit signatures posthumously inscribed, creating the illusion the artist created it much less signed it, then serious consequences of law may come into play for those who chose to profit by misrepresenting these forgeries as original works of visual art ie., sculptures, much less as reproductions .

The reputations and legacy of living and past artists, present and future museum art patrons and the art-buying public deserve the re-establishment of the obvious; that the living presence and participation of the artist to once again be required, as it always should have been, to create the piece of art attributable to the artist if indeed it is attributed to them, much less purported to have been signed by them.


POSTSCRIPT:
All bronzes, falsely attributed to a dead Edgar Degas, may actually be made of brass according to the National Gallery of Art’s published 2010 Edgar Degas Sculpture catalogue.

“Brass is the term used for alloys of copper and zinc in a solid solution. Typically it is more than 50% copper and from 5 to 20% zinc, in comparison to bronze which is principally an alloy of copper and tin.”[FN 70]

This metallurgical discovery is confirmed on page 26 of the National Gallery of Art’s published 2010 Edgar Degas Sculptures catalogue, in the “Degas’ Bronzes Analyzed” essay by Shelly G. Sturman and Daphne S. Barbour. In part, the authors wrote: “Analysis of the elemental surface composition of the National Gallery sculptures was performed using X R F, a noninvasive technique. An alloy of copper and zinc with low to medium tin and traces of lead was used to cast all the sculptures. Results were also compared to X R F analysis undertaken at the Norton Simon Museum on the bronze modeles and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on some of the serial A set as well. - Bronze is a misnomer for these sculptures, because they are all cast from brass (copper and zince with tin). But as they are universally referred to as “Degas bronzes,” we will continue to use that term in a nontechnical sense throughout this discussion.”[FN 71]

On page 1015 of the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, -misnomer- is defined as: “A mistake in naming a person, place of thing, esp. in a legal instrument.”[FN 72]

Unfortunately, the National Gallery of Art, Shelly G. Sturman and Daphne S. Barbour have a plethora of misnomers throughout their essay, not to mention the entire catalogue, one of which is the constant referral to posthumous bronzes, much less in brass attributed to Edgar Degas, as “sculpture.”

The dead don’t sculpt.

The National Gallery of Art, Shelly G. Sturman and Daphne S. Barbour would seem to believe and are acting on that belief the practice of perpetuating mistakes, with or without intent, is just a misnomer.

All brass but no Degas.




FOOTNOTES:
1. page 81, Hirshhorn Museum curator of sculpture Valerie J. Fletcher’s “Degas: The Sculptures” essay in the 2000 Degas and America, The Early Collectors catalogue © 2000 by the authors ISBN 0-8478-2340-7 (cloth: alk. paper)


2. Copyright © 1999, By West Group, ISBN 0-314-22864-0

3. Ibid

4. Art Journal © 1995 College Art Association, http://www.jstor.org/pss/777513

5. © 1998 National Gallery of Art ISBN 0-300-07517-0

6. Ibid

7. Ibid

8. © ISBN 978-0-691-14897-7 National Gallery of Art, Washington, www.nga.gov

9. © 1976 by Princeton University Press ISBN 0-691-00318-1

10. Ibid

11. www.nga.gov/cgi-bin/pinfo?Object=65280+0+none

12. © 2002 International Arts and The Torch Press ISBN 0-9716408-07

13. © 1976 by Princeton University Press ISBN 0-691-00318-1

14. © 2002 International Arts and The Torch Press ISBN 0-9716408-07

15. © 1976 by Princeton University Press ISBN 0-691-00318-1

16. © ISBN 978-0-691-14897-7 National Gallery of Art, Washington, www.nga.gov

17. Ibid

18. Ibid

19. © 2002 International Arts and The Torch Press ISBN 0-9716408-07

20. Copyright © 1984 by The Art Institute of Chicago, ISBN 0-8109-0804-2 (hard: H.N. Abrams)

21.www.nortonsimon.org/collections/browse_artist.asp?name=Edgar+Degas&resultnum=75

22. Ibid

23. Copyright © 2000 by High Museum of Art, ISBN 0-8478-2340-7

24. ARTnews, 48 West 38th Street, New York, NY 10018, (212) 398-1690,
info@artnews.com

25. Rosalind E. Krauss Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Art History
815 SCHERMERHORN mail code 5517 212-854-2164 212-854-4505 (FAX?) rek8@columbia.edu

26. Ibid

27. www.nga.gov/education/degas-11.htm

28. © 1976 by Princeton University Press ISBN 0-691-00318-1

29. Copyright © 1999, By West Group, ISBN 0-314-22864-0

30. Ibid

31. © 2002 International Arts and The Torch Press ISBN 0-9716408-07

32. Ibid

33. Ibid

34. Ibid

35. Copyright © 2000 by High Museum of Art, ISBN 0-8478-2340-7

36. Ibid

37.www.artnet.com/Galleries/Artwork_Detail.asp?G=&gid=529&which=&ViewArtistBy=&aid=5032&wid=424141528&source=artist&rta=http://www.artnet.com

38. Hirschl & Adler Galleries, 21 East 70 Street, New York , New York 10021.

39. 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.”

40. www.aamd.org/AAMDmission.shtml

41. Under the title “Reproductions of Works of Art” and documented as “adopted by the membership of the AAMD, January 1979; amended 2001, Copyright 2001 by the Association of Art Museum Directors ( ISBN 1-880974-02-0 ) Address: 41 East 65th Street, New York, New York 10021
“Art museums legitimately generate income through the sale of such educational materials as catalogues, books, postcards, and reproductions. The manufacture and knowledgeable use of reproductions for teaching purposes or in a decorative context is appropriate. However, a proliferation of “art-derived” materials, coupled with misleading marketing of reproductions, has created such widespread confusion as to require clarification in order to maintain professional standards.
“When producing and/or selling reproductions, museums must clearly indicate, through the use of integral markings on the objects, as well as signs, labels, and advertising, that these items are reproductions. Signatures, print edition numbers, and printer’s symbols or titles must not appear in the reproduction if in the original they occur outside the borders of the image. Similarly, signatures, edition numbers, and/or foundry marks on sculpture must not appear on the reproduction.
“Reproductions must be in materials and/or sizes other than those uses by the artist in the original works of art. Although reproductions of decorative arts serving functional purposes may pose special problems in this regard, the fact that they are reproductions should be clearly indicated on the object.
“The touting of exaggerated investment value of reproductions must be avoided because of object or work being offered for purchase is not original and the resale value is highly in doubt.
“When advertising reproductions, museums should not use language implying that there is any identity of quality between the copy and the original or lead the potential buyer to believe that by purchasing any such reproductions, he or she is acquiring an original work of art.”

42. Ibid

43. © National Gallery of Canada for the Corporation of the National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, 1988 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1988 ISBN 0-88884-581-2 (National Gallery of Canada)

44. Copyright © 1984 by The Art Institute of Chicago, ISBN 0-8109-0804-2 (hard: H.N. Abrams)

45.www.metmuseum.org/store/st_family_viewer.asp/familyID/%7B029B09B9-0B43-11D6-9415-00902786BF44%7D/shopperID/FromPage/FromPage/callFromRelViewer/y/callFromFamViewer/y/SpecialPermFlag/catID/%7BEF58F4D2-8B11-11D3-9367-00902786BF44%7D/FromSearch/

46. Ibid

47. Copyright © 1999, By West Group, ISBN 0-314-22864-0

48. Ibid

49. Copyright © Bena mayer, Executrix of the Estate of Ralph Mayer, 1991, ISBN 0-0670-83701-6

50. www.getty.edu

51. http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#101

52. Ibid

53. Copyright © Bena mayer, Executrix of the Estate of Ralph Mayer, 1991, ISBN 0-0670-83701-6

54. Copyright © 1999, By West Group, ISBN 0-314-22864-0

55. Copyright © Bena mayer, Executrix of the Estate of Ralph Mayer, 1991, ISBN 0-0670-83701-6

56. Copyright © 1999, By West Group, ISBN 0-314-22864-0

57. Ibid

58. Ibid

59. www.phxart.org/exhibitions/degas.asp

60. Ibid

61. 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.”

62. www.arts.gov/about/NCA/About_NCA.html

63. Ibid

64. Ibid

65. www.nea.gov/about/Facts/AtAGlance.html

66. p 281-282 APPENDIX Jean Chatelain’s “An Original in Sculpture” essay published in the National Gallery of Art’s published 1981 Rodin Rediscovered catalogue, ISBN 0-89468-001-3 (pbk) AACR2

67. Ibid

68. news10now.com/content/all_news/?ArID= 12317&SecID=83

69. Copyright © 1999, By West Group, ISBN 0-314-22864-0

70. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060803230342AAEHfdg
Brass is the term used for alloys of copper and zinc in a solid solution. Typically it is more than 50% copper and from 5 to 20% zinc, in comparison to bronze which is principally an alloy of copper and tin. Despite this distinction, some types of brasses are called bronzes.

Brass has a yellow colour, somewhat similar to gold. It is relatively resistant to tarnishing, and is often used as decoration.

Brass has been known to man since prehistoric times, long before zinc itself was discovered. It was produced by melting copper together with calamine, a zinc ore. During this process, the zinc is extracted from the calamine and instantly mixes with the copper. Pure zinc, on the other hand, is too reactive to have been produced by ancient metalworking techniques.

Bronze refers to a broad range of copper alloys, usually with tin as the main additive, but sometimes with other elements such as phosphorus, manganese, aluminum, or silicon. It is strong and tough, and has myriad uses in industry.

When steel is excluded from the discussion, bronze is superior to iron in nearly every application. While it develops a patina, it does not oxidize. It is considerably less brittle than iron and has a lower casting temperature. (Steel, of course, has properties with which bronze cannot compete.)

Copper-based alloys have lower melting points than steel and are more readily produced from their constituent metals. They are generally about 10 percent heavier than steel, although alloys using aluminium or silicon may be slightly less dense. Bronzes are softer and weaker than steel, Bronze springs are less stiff (and so store less energy) for the same bulk. It resists corrosion (especially seawater corrosion) and metal fatigue better than steel and also conducts heat and electricity better than most steels. The cost of copper-base alloys is generally higher than that of steels but lower than that of nickel-base alloys.

Copper and its alloys have a huge variety of uses that reflect their versatile physical, mechanical, and chemical properties. Some common examples are the high electrical conductivity of pure copper, the excellent deep-drawing qualities of cartridge case brass, the low-friction properties of bearing bronze, the resonant qualities of bell bronze, and the resistance to corrosion by sea water of several bronze alloys.

Bronze is the most popular metal for top-quality bells and cymbals, and more recently, saxophones. It is also widely used for cast metal sculpture. Common bronze alloys often have the unusual and very desirable property of expanding slightly just before they set, thus filling in the finest details of a mould.

Bronze also has very little metal-on-metal friction, which made it invaluable for the building of cannons where iron cannonballs would otherwise stick in the barrel. It is still widely used today for springs, bearings, bushings and similar fittings, and is particularly common in the bearings of small electric motors. Phosphor bronze is particularly suited to precision-grade bearings and springs.

Bronze is typically 60% copper and 40% tin. Alpha bronze consists of the alpha solid solution of tin in copper. Alpha bronze alloys of 4-5% tin are used to make coins, springs, turbines and blades.

Commercial bronze (otherwise known as brass) is 90% copper and 10% zinc, and contains no tin. It is stronger than copper and it has equivalent ductility. It is used for screws and wires.

Bronze vs. Brass
1. Bronze is the familiar brownish color whereas brass is the more greyish greenish, bluish. Both will weather to the fine verdigris patina without maintenance.
2. They differ in the amont of metals used in the amalgam. Brass is a combination of copper and zinc while brass is a combination of copper and tin.
3. Bronze items are four times more expensive than brass.
4. Bronze is much stronger and more corrosion resistant than brass.
5. Bronze is harder and more abrasion resistant than brass
6. As brass deteriorates, it creates an oxide (a grey white powder - zinc oxide). Zinc oxide is acetic and will attack the lignum in wood. Once the lignum is gone the wood fiber is open to rot
7. Brass melts at lower temperature and therefore use less energy to melt. It machines and polishes much easier than Bronze and therefore the price to make a fitting from it is lower. Also, it goes away much more quickly and therefore the customer will have to purchase replacement parts much sooner.
8. Bronze is richer, more golden in color than brass which is usually a yellow color. If there is any doubt in your mind, try an easy test. Using the smallest drill bit that you have, drill a small hole in an unimportant area of the fitting and look at the metal turnings that come out. If they are long and stringy, the fittings are probably Bronze. If the turnings are small (like snow flakes), then the metal is probably brass and even more probably a leaded brass.

71. © 2010 ISBN 978-0-691-14897-7, National Gallery of Art, Washington, www.nga.gov

72. Copyright © 1999, By West Group, ISBN 0-314-22864-0

9 Comments:

Blogger Yon said...

Dear Mr. Arseneau,


Please imagine that the most popular reproductions of Degas' work do, according to well thought laws, carry the word "reproduction" and are presented as such.
Which is, more often than not, the case.
What is your problem then? It's the 3D equivalent of lithography. Your title: "DEGAS BRONZE FAKES, The ABCs of one of the largest art frauds of the 20th/21st century." is not only cheap flamebait, it is also plain false. It is by no means one of the lrgest art frauds of any century, because it is almost always presented as what it truly is: posthumous casts of bronze, and I think you'll agree that since dead men cannot act watsoever, they cannot forbid the bronze casting of their work if demanded by their heirs. Additionally, after some research of my own, Degas never did forbid the bronze casting of his mixed media, au contraire. I think that you, Sir, are barking at the wrong tree.



Sincerely,



Yon Baum

9:14 AM, April 25, 2009  
Blogger Gary Arseneau said...

April 25, 2009

Dear Mr. Baum:

Lithographs are original works of visual art "wholly executed by hand by the artist" and "excludes any mechanical and photomechanical processes." (U.S. Customs)

In other words, lithographs and reproductions, much less posthumous reproductions, are not interchangeable, much less the same.

As an artist, creator and printmaker of original lithographs, I speak from experience and as a scholar I document with authority.

Finally, if you read my monograph again you will find the Association of Art Museum Directors' own endorsed ethical guidelines on sculptural reproduction states any transfer into new material unless specifically condone by the artist is to be considered counterfeit.

Obviously, Edgar Degas, who died in 1917, could not have condoned the 3rd-generation-removed surmoulages reproduced into bronzes after 1919.

I hope after careful review and consideration, you might reconsider your position.

Respectfully,

Gary Arseneau
artist, creator of original lithographs & scholar

11:27 AM, April 25, 2009  
Anonymous Malcolm Thain said...

I am an Artist, who has studied Degas with delight for decades, I have copied his works, and been inspired by him all my working life.
This does not make me an authority on the authenticity of works presented as Degas' works.
But there are many Degas sculpture 'reproductions' that utterly fail to 'delight or inspire' me.
The newly discovered plaster casts, and the bronzes cast from them are utterly unconvincing, they do not evoke the awe that Degas invariably does in me, on the contrary. Some appear shockingly crude ('Rearing Horse'), or as incompetent fakes (Spanish Dance, first study').

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_civ_0_27/11/2009_112812

Perhaps if genuine, they represent the sad bumblings of a mind that has lost its genius.
Their presentation is an insult to a great master either way.
Thank you for this scholastically thorough web page Gary

6:13 PM, November 28, 2009  
Blogger v.2jeffh said...

Nut case.

Your article misrepresents itself, the Degas collection does not. You suggest this is genuine original research and make false and inflammatory statements.

The Degas collection is everywhere labelled as posthumous castings, and clearly identified that Degas worked in mixed media. How long does wax last? Shouldn't the public be able to see such interesting copies of Degas unexhibited work?

You waste hundreds of words arguing that Degas never worked in bronze when in fact nobody has ever argued that he did. Are you trying to pretend this is original research? In fact your entire article contains nothing new, and your only contention seems to be either that museums (1) should more _clearly_ label the collection as posthumous castings (couldn't be more clear), or (2) museums should not be allowed to exhibit copies at all (how else could the public see these fine works?).

You are a crackpot.

11:27 AM, February 02, 2010  
Blogger Gary Arseneau said...

February 2, 2010

Association of Art Museum Directors' endorsed ethical guidelines on sculptural reproductions states: "any transfer into new material unless specifically condoned by the artist should be considered counterfeit and should not be displayed or exhibited as works of art."

In other words, the dead don't condone.

Therefore, these AAMD member museums are violating their own ethical guidelines, not mine.

In closing, "appealing to personal prejudices rather than to reason; attacking an opponent's character rather than the opponent's assertions" is one legal definition of -ad hominem-.

Respectfully,

Gary Arseneau
artist, creator of original lithographs & scholar
Fernandina Beach, Florida

1:49 PM, February 02, 2010  
Blogger joancasilo said...

I have gone through this blog. I found it very interesting and helpful. Nowadays I am working from my home and studying in a reputed college.
So this blog really doing great for me.


work and study

7:34 AM, April 13, 2010  
Blogger castech said...

Lost Wax Casting which is widely known as Lost Wax Investment Casting is one of the most effective casting process used in Metal casting.

10:29 AM, July 12, 2010  
Blogger Samantha said...

I can understand that people might want to see the type of sculpture Degas produced, but I have to admit that when I discovered that all his bronzes were cast posthumously, without his knowledge, in a completely different media to what the originals were worked in, I was greatly disappointed. A sculpture made of wax, rope, paintbrushes, etc. would have a completely different quality and visual impact, not to mention implied intention, than one cast in bronze. Thanks for the interesting read Gary.

11:28 PM, May 21, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary,
We spoke by email a year back and you confirmed that my three Degas Bronze pieces were fake. Being that said and that they are in ngreat condition could you lead me to a buyer who may have interst in purchasing them.
Best, Maury Needham
gmtimn@aol.com

3:26 PM, May 17, 2014  

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