Great Idea:”Which Warhol’s Warhols?” (plus steal a Banksy Update)

Some time back, I blogged about a competition being held by The Art Series Hotel in Australia that was challenging the public to come spend the night at the hotel and while they were at it, attempt an art heist! So cool! Well though the first painting was successfully “stolen”, all attempts to steal the second one (Pulp Fiction) failed so it has been donated to Crime Stoppers.

Serena Williams posing with Banksy’s ‘Pulp Fiction’

But all is not lost, the Hotel is now giving you the chance to test your fake spotting skills. World renowned art forger Tony Tetro has produced 9 fakes of an original Warhol and all guests have to do is guess Which Warhol’s Warhol’s out of the 10 paintings. Every week one fake will be revealed and given away as prizes, with an original Warhol given to one of the guests who picks Warhol’s Warhol. I don’t know about you but if I could I’d be booking a room at the hotel right now! As far as I’m concerned, this is probably the easiest way you will ever have to obtain high quality art! The art work in question, worth $20 000, is below.

I am quite intrigued by Art forger Tony Tetro. I am in awe of his ability to recreate so many different styles of art with no formal training. Below is a little information about him from the media release the Hotel sent.

Colourful global art identity Tony Tetro is best known for his perfectionism in copying pieces from a diverse range of artists including Warhol, Dali, Chagall and Rembrandt.

He has never had any formal training or a desire to develop his own style. His forgeries are a scientific masterpiece with the materials meticulously selected to age in unison with the originals.

Tetro went to extreme lengths to ensure a level of authenticity in his pieces, often traveling to Europe to source canvases from the same locations as the originals. His paintings and lithographs were sold by art dealers and auction houses as legitimate works and hung in museums and galleries around the world….. in the late 1980’s Hiro Yamagata found a  forgery of his own work for sale in a gallery.

Tetro was convicted of art forgery, tried in a high-profile court case in Los Angeles in 1989, and was sent to jail until 1994. He has since been expunged of all charges and currently executes master copies for exclusive clients from his base in LA with a unique court-imposed condition: all works must be signed by him to ensure clarity with its authenticity.

His passion for replicas extended to his love of fast cars: he once made a replica 1958 Ferrari 250 Testarossa TR58 race car – of which only two genuine cars were ever made. He hand-crafted a car so perfect in the minutest detail that it could easily have passed for an authentic Ferrari lost in an accident. The vehicle’s current whereabouts is unknown but it has been spotted throughout parts of South America. In the 90’s, a real 250 Testa Rossa sold for more than $11 million.

Tony with his forged Ferrari

In short, this guy is the best there is so guessing the fake art will be quite a challenge! Luckily Tony Tetro offers some of his own personal tips on spotting a fake:

  • Provenance – History of the work. Find out the story behind the piece. What is its history? Does it match up to the artist’s history?
  • The fine details – Look out for the even spread of the paint. It should not have any dots. In the past this was not so easy to replicate but today printers can do it in a flash.
  • Do your research – Find out the style of the artist. Did they use stamps, watermarks etc. How did they look? It’s easy to fake a rubber stamp.
  • Put things in context- See if the objects painted fit in with the artist and his era.
  • Don’t always trust authenticity certificates – They can be faked too. Always buy from a reputable dealer.

And if you can’t be there in person no worries, check out the Art Series Hotels Facebook page, answer some quizzes on fake art and you could win a night at the hotel.

Aside from being a fun competion, this is also a chance to educate people on fake art and how it affects the industry.

Art Forgery is a serious issue facing the international art industry. At Art Series, we aim to not only make art more accessible for our guests but also help provide an education on art. This process would not be complete without highlighting the prevalence of this fraudulent behaviour.

In running Which Warhol, we’re looking to profile this serious issue and stimulate discussion and debate around the production of replica art. What does it mean for the industry, how can you pick a fake from a real, what value do we  actually place on art?

So if you happen to be near an Art Series Hotel, stop by and try your luck! For more information contact:

Chriss Mannix
Soda Communications
M: 0418 408 035
E: Chriss@sodacommunications.com.au

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