Vocabulary in Reading for the topic of Art – part 1


A French museum dedicated to (dành riêng cho) painter Étienne Terrus has discovered paintings it thought were by him were fakes.

The Terrus museum in Elne in the south of France discovered 82 works originally attributed to (do bởi, làm ra bởi) the artist were not painted by him.

More than half the collection is thought to be fake. The paintings cost about €160,000 (£140,000).

Staff at the museum were not aware of the forgeries (vụ làm giả) until a visiting art historian alerted them.

The council in Elne bought the paintings, drawings and watercolours (tranh vẽ bằng màu nước) for the museum over a 20-year period.

Eric Forcada, an art historian, contacted the museum in the town near Perpignan several months ago to express his doubts about the authenticity (tính chính gốc, nguyên bản) of the paintings.

The museum assembled a committee of experts from the cultural world, who inspected the works and concluded that 82 of them had not been painted by the Elne-born artist.

The news was announced on Friday as the museum opened after a renovation.

In interviews on Friday, the mayor of the Pyrenees town, Yves Barniol, said the situation was “a disaster” and apologised to those who had visited the museum in good faith. (bằng thiện ý)

Terrus was born in 1857 and died in 1922 in Elne, although he lived most of his life in Roussillon, also in the Pyrenees. He was a close friend of painter Henri Matisse.

Some of the paintings show buildings that were built after Terrus’ death, France 3 said.

The town hall has filed a complaint against (viết đơn/thư than phiền về ai) those who ordered, painted, or sold the fake paintings.

Local police are investigating the case, which they say could affect other regional artists too.

Watch the video about this news here: 

A court battle is fought over whether a painting is fake, a drawing said to be Warhol is disputed, (bị tranh chấp) but is there ever a case for cherishing (yêu quí) the fake and the forged? (đồ được làm giả)

Wrong signature. Dubious provenance. (nguồn gốc không rõ ràng) Fake. These are words an auction house (nhà đấu giá) dreads to hear. (sợ phải nghe thấy)

This is exactly what happened recently with a drawing hailed (được gọi là) as an early Andy Warhol. It was denounced (tố giác, vạch mặt) by his brother as a fake but discussions on its authenticity (tính nguyên bản, xác thực) are ongoing.

A work by Van Gogh or Munch can fetch (đem lại) tens of millions. Cast a shadow of doubt over (gây nghi ngờ về) its provenance and that value rapidly declines. 

But if it has a level of draughtsmanship, (tài thiết kế) colour and imagination that is nearly enough to fool an auction house expert, isn’t that worth something?

Han van Meegeren is a candidate for the greatest forger ever. The Dutchman came closest to being acclaimed (được ca ngợi) as an artist in his own right after gaining notoriety (tai tiếng) forging 17th Century Dutch masters that would fool art-loving Nazis.

While his own paintings were of little interest to critics, his forgeries (các tác phẩm nghệ thuật làm giả) earned millions and conned, (lái thuyền, điều khiển à ở đây tạm hiểu là làm say mê) among others, Hitler’s deputy Hermann Goering.

Van Meegeren was arrested in 1945 and charged with treason (tội phản quốc) for selling a Vermeer – classified as (được phân loại như là) a Dutch national treasure – to the Nazis. Facing a possible death penalty, he confessed all – that he was a forger.

The Dutch authorities didn’t believe him. To prove he was no traitor, (kẻ phản bội) he was asked to paint a copy.

“A copy,” Van Meegeren is reported to have exclaimed, “I’ll do better than that. Give me the materials and I will paint another Vermeer before witnesses.” (các nhân chứng)

Before the war, frustrated (tức giận) that his style of painting did not suit the world’s new-found interest in modern art, Van Meegeren had forged a Vermeer in his own style that was “unlike any previous Vermeer”, says Frank Wynne, who wrote a biography (tiểu sử) of the forger.

What infuriated (làm tức giận) him was a skill that would have made him famous in an earlier age was of no interest to anyone at a time when the world was interested in post-impressionism.” (thời hậu chủ nghĩa ấn tượng trong nghệ thuật)

His experiment worked. His painting, The Supper at Emmaus, was hailed as a previously unknown masterpiece (kiệt tác) by Vermeer and was one of the most visited paintings in the Netherlands until it was revealed to be a fake.

Van Meegeren wanted to prove that a famous signature on a painting hugely influences how beautiful we think it is, says Wynne.

“A famous artist’s signature gives us the romantic notion (ý niệm) that their paintings are sacred (linh thiêng) artefacts (tác phẩm nghệ thuật) that were touched by the hand of a genius.”

Van Meegeren’s work has since come to be appreciated in its own right.

He has even inspired other forgers to fake his work, an example of which was recently presented to the BBC’s 

Convicted forger (người vẽ giả tranh bị kết án) John Myatt has had a little of the same recognition. He was arrested in 1995 for fraudulently (1 cách lừa lọc) selling around 200 paintings in the style of modern masters.

He claimed he didn’t initially set out to dupe (lừa bịp) art collectors, but after a fake sold at auction for £25,000, his collaborator John Drew offered him half the cash in a brown envelope. A partnership of crime (sự bắt tay phạm tội) had begun.

Myatt painted fresh works in the style of famous modern artists while Drew created false paper trails, (dấu vết giấy tờ – về nguồn gốc tranh) showing previous supposed sales. 

It was – according to Scotland Yard – the start of “the biggest art fraud (sự lừa đảo trong nghệ thuật) of the 20th Century”.

Myatt was convicted for (bị kết tội) conspiracy (âm mưu) to defraud, (lừa tiền) and spent four months in Brixton prison. He now legitimately (1 cách hợp pháp) sells his paintings in the style of famous artists, with “genuine fakes” written on the back. But he believes 120 of his illegal forgeries are still in circulation. (đang được lưu hành)

Like Van Meegeren, Myatt does not simply copy famous works. His paintings are entirely new, but in the style of a master. He says he “climbs into their minds and lives” and searches for the inspiration behind their work.

Later this year he has an exhibition in his own name and says people seem to be “fascinated by fake paintings”.

“There can be quite a lot of demand from people who can’t afford a Van Gogh but are looking for the same aesthetic experience (trải nghiệ thẩm mỹ) for a fraction (phần nhỏ) of the price.”

Pretentious critics and the “disgusting amounts” of money changing hands can leave people feeling alienated by the art world, he adds.

“People also like the idea that experts are fallible (sai lầm) and make mistakes.”

Forgers have a certain charm because they are seen to be rebelling against the establishment, says Philip Mould, art detective and presenter of BBC’s Fake or Fortune.

He believes their outsider status captures the public imagination in a similar way that graffiti artist Banksy has.

But he stresses that he finds this type of deception (sự lừa đảo) disgusting and says forgers are “unattractive chancers” (kẻ cơ hội) who will only ever make a fraction of the value of the masters they are copying.

“The world of fakery is shabby, venal and unromantic. It is just a slightly more glamorous form of criminality.” (sự phạm tội)

Of course, even great masters have had their originality questioned. French impressionist (người theo trường phái ấn tượng) Paul Gauguin claimed that “art is either plagiarism (sự đạo văn) or revolution”. 

Vernon Rapley, head of security at the V&A and formerly in charge of Scotland Yard’s arts and antiques (a,n – đồ cổ) unit, says that people’s interest in criminal masterminds (kẻ chủ mưu) makes the world of art forgery appeal to a wider audience than art lovers alone.

But he says it is wrong for forgers to benefit financially following criminal convictions for fraud.

“There are thousands of art students who can do the same job [as forgers]. It is repugnant (ghê tởm, đáng ghét) that forgers are able to benefit from the notoriety (sự tai tiếng) of their crimes.”   

Myatt admits that his popularity may be a direct result of the crimes he committed. He says when he came out of prison he had no interest in painting again but now accepts that “a good thing can come out of something bad”.

For some, Mould says, it may simply be the story behind a forged work of art that makes it so appealing. (hấp dẫn) The story is of a man tricking authority, but Myatt recognises his was not a crime without victims.

“If I ever saw one of my paintings again I would just smile to myself and say nothing. What’s the point? The person selling it would lose a lot of money if I revealed it to be a fake, and that would be an immoral (vô đạo đức) thing to do.”

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