Friday, 6 March 2020

Donna Yates, TEFAF and Dealers' BS

Coronavirus schrikt buitenlandse
Donna Yates visited TEFAF The European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht and briefly described her impressions on Twitter. One comment caught my eye: ' One weird experience I had was having the expertise to know that galleries were wrong about objects. Thinking "Huh, no, that absolutely isn't what the object is", but not saying it to anyone at all'. As somebody who is innately suspicious of anything a dealer uses as a label to sell their goods, that comment puzzled me and I queried it:
Paul Barford @PortantIssues · 8 g.
Surely that happens all the time whenever we look at the antiquities trade? A lot of it is just BS. The problem with calling them out is that our opinion of "what it is" is often just as much a hunch/gut feeling as theirs, just based on different experiences.
It seems however that she was describing something else
Dr Donna Yates @DrDonnaYates W odpowiedzi do @PortantIssues
Not really, not for extremely high priced Latin America pieces. Claiming fakes are real, sure, weird stories told by staff, yeah, but errors in basic iconographic interpretation printed on the cards? That's new to me for that material.
Suggesting that this is something that has emerged just there and now.  I would like to ask, bearing in mind that the whole 'no-questions-asked' antiquities market operates around the unshakeable notion of connoisseurship, to what can the latter be attributed? That nobody cares any more? Increasing numbers of cowboy operators and charlatans? Lack of access to literature?

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