Art Forgery in India

Have you ever wondered what makes artwork special?
Is it the work or the person who made it?
The fact is every artwork is an unparalleled expression of an individual creative talent and a result of a precise personal, historical, and cultural context. 

Since time immemorial, art has been of the most remunerative profession across the globe. Art is something that takes a lot for an artist to portray his emotion vision on the canvas and when his creation got so much recognition it gives him great honor and respect. An artist, sometimes spend his whole life in creating a masterpiece. Works passionately to create it but some art forger forges the art by making, using, and selling the fake art. 

Many stories of piracy of artwork has been heard to get benefit from it. There are almost certainly many unidentified works by known forger still circulating the art markets along with countless others by names we have never heard of. Three varieties of art forger are- 

  1.  One who recreates the fraudulent piece.
  2. One who discovers a piece and attempt to pass it off as something it is not, in order to increase the piece’s value
  3. One who discovers the artwork is fake but still sells it a an original anyway.

In a report, the Fine  Arts Experts Institute concluded that over 50% of all arts in the market are fake. But there is a difference between forging an art and using art as an inspiration. Some artists try to copy an artwork as an inspiration but not for selling it while art forgery includes copying the artwork and selling it on its name and claiming it as the original art.

Many cases regarding the art forgery has been experienced in India as well. In 2009, when a Kolkata artist Ajoy Kumar Ghosh two paintings were sold which were award-winning works from which Ghosh signature’s “Ajoy” had been erased and a hasty “Nando” scrawled in its place for 5,200 pounds i.e., Rs 3.64 lakhs each.

In an interview, Alka Raghuvanshi, artist and art curator shared an incident of art forgery that once S H Raza an artist visited an art exhibition where he identified all artworks as fake. Artist Amar Singh Jodha explains the functions of art forgery. According to her, there are agents who hire unemployed artists and bribe them to create the most outstanding fake arts and make millions from them. Jodha says despite spotting fake arts of their own works at shows, they are forced to keep quiet. Artist Sanjay Bhattacharya has experienced about an auction in 2006 as he stopped a fake Bikash Bhattacharjee at a premium auction at a Delhi hotel in which a painting was about to sell for 40-45 lakhs that was not even the copy of Bikash’s painting but just a work by some young artist. After that, he was threatened by many enemies that make his community friends to maintain distance from him. As a result, he left Delhi for four months and started photography. 

According to Uday Jain, director of Dhoomimal Art Gallery in Delhi, selling fake art happens because buyers do not care to exercise enough diligence on their part while purchasing artworks. Often, they avoid not to discuss the matter with specialists.

Renu Rana, director of an art consultancy in Delhi says that the circulation of fake art is done as some people like to buy paintings to use it as a decorative item and less ratio of supply is available that encourages the forger to fool the inexperienced buyers. As stated by Rakhi Sarkar, director of the CIMA Art Gallery in Kolkata, the hub of the fake art is Calcutta. A graduated art colleges students are producing fake art. In 2011, 20 paintings were attributed to Rabindranath Tagore considered as fake by historians and critics during an exhibition. 

 Artists sign their work for authentication but it is not the full proof authentication as signature can be copied or erased To overcome this, the authentication of the artwork is needed. Most of the authentication is done by the legal paperwork but it is hard to maintain the soft copies of the authentication. 

Jumbish Creations Pvt Ltd with aim of enabling the artists to pursue their passion and to earn from it has established a device named JDATi.e.,  Jumbish Digital Authentication Tag which provides sole authentication and provenance for collectors as it is a flexible paper-like chip with 128bit Encryption with a private and public key which when attached to the canvas or any other paintings automatically provides the information when scanned and will provide the earning to the artist from the first sale to last sale. The device is a temperature, chemical, and moisture resistant at affordable price. And if someone tries to remove the chip from the painting to forge it, the certification of authenticity will get destructed along with the chip.  It can chip off a layer or two from the paper or canvas.

Jumbish Creations private limited is an art tech company aiming to promote art that bridges the gap between the artist and the collectors to provide them a fair platform to showcase their talent. 

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