Thursday, 30 March 2017

Scrutiny of Scholars’ Role in Art Sales

Ralph Blumenthal and Tom Mashberg, 'Expert Opinion or Elaborate Ruse? Scrutiny for Scholars’ Role in Art Sales' New York Times March 30, 2017
They have long been oddly far-flung collaborators. She was a Colorado museum consultant known for her esoteric lectures on ancient gold adornments or nomadic Chinese tribes. He was a buccaneering Bangkok art collector who trekked through Cambodia’s war-ravaged jungles in the 1970s, exploring moss-encrusted temples built a thousand years earlier, during the heyday of Khmer civilization. Over the course of a 30-year friendship, Emma C. Bunker, 87, and Douglas A. J. Latchford, 86, became authorities on Southeast Asian antiquities whose approval could ensure an object’s value and legitimacy. Together they wrote three seminal volumes — “Adoration and Glory: The Golden Age of Khmer Art,” “Khmer Gold” and “Khmer Bronzes” — that are core reference works for other experts.

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