• de
  • en

Forgeries X Networks

Art forgeries have been a challenge for the art business and its collecting and preserving institutions not only since the sensational case of Wolfgang Beltracchi. From the end of the 19th century, a journal called "Mittheilungen des Museen-Verbandes - als Manuscript für die Mitglieder gedruckt und ausgegeben" was published, in which current incidents and findings concerning forgeries and suspected cases that had come to light were published.
It was not a freely available publication, but circulated among a fixed circle of experts who had previously undertaken to "keep these communications carefully and secretly". In the event of their leaving the association, they were to return the printed work or make appropriate arrangements in the event of their death. Publication ceased in 1939. Today, however, the volumes are available digitally at the Heidelberg University Library, among other places.

The aim of Fakes x Networks is to examine this source by means of historical network analysis and to gain new insights into the network of relationships between collecting institutions, fakes, fakers and the art market. In 2021, a cooperation between the Institute of European Art History at the University of Heidelberg and the Digital Historical Research | DH Lab department of the IEG took the first steps to examine which tools, methods and processes are necessary for this. In this context, among other things, test pages have already been transformed from the digitised printed work into a machine-readable XML file. Based on this work, an application for a third-party funded project will be made in 2022 to implement the scientific reprocessing in a professional manner.

Contact persons at the IEG: Jaap Geraerts, Demival Vasques, Thorsten Wübbena