Noah Charney
 

noah charney

INTERNATIONAL BEST-SELLING AUTHOR & PROFESSOR OF ART HISTORY
Noah's Latest News

Events: Spring 2015

Noah will be speaking at the following events in the Spring 2015, in support of his latest book, THE ART OF FORGERY (Phaidon). All are welcome, and should contact the host institution regarding tickets.

Here's the current lineup of live appearances, in addition to the Hay Festival, mentioned above:

UK Events

May 16 Guardian Masterclass "How to write about art" (sold out) London, England

May 17 Dulwich Picture Gallery 2:30pm London, England

May 18 V&A Museum 7pm London, England

May 26 Hay Festival 7pm Hay-on-Wye, Wales

US Events

June 3 Kramer Books Washington, DC

June 4 Institute Library New Haven, CT

June 5 MFA Boston, MA

June 8 92nd Street Y New York, NY

Italy Events

June 22-24 "History of Forgery" course Amelia, Umbria

Bled Film Festival

Noah has been recruited as "Selector of Feature Films" for the first annual Bled Film Festival, which will be held in Bled, Slovenia June 17-21.  This new festival features high-profile stars among its founders, from Hollywood and the Balkans.  Noah will be choosing eight films to be screened and contend for juried prizes, plus four films shown for free in an open air theater on the shores of Lake Bled, often called the most beautiful place on earth.  For more information, visit www.bledff.com


Cultural Heritage Research Prize

Noah is one of a select number of jury members for a brand new prize, established by the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy and former Italian Minister of Culture, Francesco Rutelli.  The Cultural Heritage Research Prize will be awarded annually to someone who distinguishes themselves in the field of cultural heritage protection and recovery.  The prestigious prize includes a substantial cash award as well.  Noah's fellow jurors include  Rutelli, Mounir Bouchenaki, Bonnie Burnham, Jack Lang, Giovanni Nistri, Peter Watson, Hanna Pennock, Ismail Serageldin, and Stefano de Caro.  More information is available here.

Noah's BBC and National Geographic Documentaries

Noah appears as a guest expert and presenter on two TV documentaries this winter.  "The World's Most Expensive Stolen Paintings" appears on BBC2 on December 21, 2013 and "Hunting Hitler's Stolen Art Treasures" appears on Nat Geo Channel on February 5, 2014.


Invited to Consult to UN on Art Crime
Noah has been invited to participate in this year's ISPAC meeting on art crime. ISPAC is the International Scientific and Professional Advisory Committee to the United Nations' Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Program.

The History of Art in 12 Paintings
Noah has been chosen by The Teaching Company to prepare a featured course for their prestigious Great Courses series. He will film a course of his design, called "The History of Art in 12 Paintings," which will be published in the summer of 2015. Noah is the youngest professor ever to be featured in the Great Courses series.

Art Crime Conference at the V&A Museum in London (7 November)
Through ARCA, Noah is organizing a day-long symposium on art crime, hosted by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The symposium will be held on 7 November 2013 and will consist of two sessions, one on "Art Forgery and Provenance," the other on "Art Recovery and Rewards." Speakers include Noah, Vernon Rapley, Richard Ellis, Charlie Hill, Claire Hutcheon, and Jonathan Jones. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance.

TED 2014 Finalist
Noah is a finalist to be one of the twenty annual TED Fellows at the main TED event in 2014. Fingers crossed!

Writing for Esquire
Noah is thrilled to announce that he has begun to write for his favorite magazine, Esquire. You can find links to his articles on his Articles page or on his blog.

Noah in The New Yorker
Noah is quoted as an expert on art forgery in a recent New Yorker feature article about Mark Landis.

Noah's "The Secret History of Art" Blog

  • Art Forgery Talks in London, New England

    Come and see The Secret History of Art at one of the events to mark the release of the new book, THE ART OF FORGERY (Phaidon).

    Noah Charney

    THE ART OF FORGERY: THE MINDS, MOTIVES AND METHODS OF MASTER FORGERS

    Event 200Tuesday 26 May 2015, 7pmVenue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage

    Noah Charney

    To mark the release of his new book, join art crime expert and investigative journalist Noah Charney as he tells explores the stories, dramas and human intrigues surrounding the world’s most famous forgeries – investigating the motivations of the artists and criminals who have faked great works of art, and in doing so conned the public and the art establishment alike. Chaired by Francine Stock.

    Here’s the current lineup of live appearances, in addition to the Hay Festival, mentioned above:

    UK Events

    May 16 Guardian Masterclass “How to write about art” (sold out) London, England

    May 17 Dulwich Picture Gallery 2:30pm London, England

    May 18 V&A Museum 7pm London, England

    May 26 Hay Festival 7pm Hay-on-Wye, Wales

    US Events

    June 3 Kramer Books Washington, DC

    June 4 Institute Library New Haven, CT

    June 5 MFA Boston, MA

    June 8 92nd Street Y New York, NY

    Italy Events

    June 22-24 “History of Forgery” course Amelia, Umbria

    ArtofForgery-cover

  • Quand L’Art Pousse au Crime – Art Crime in Paris Match Today

    Ar crime, forgery, terrorists and iconoclasts–catch at interview with The Secret History of Art in today’s Paris Match (en francais, bien sure):

    VOLS, COPIES, BLANCHIMENT…

    QUAND L’ART POUSSE AU CRIME

    Art-et-criminalite-Noah-Charney-Fabrizio-Panone_article_landscape_pm_v8

    http://www.parismatch.com/Actu/Societe/Art-et-criminalite-Noah-Charney-Fabrizio-Panone-754572

  • ISIS, Art and Terrorism Funding

    My latest article for Salon is on what to do about the now well-known fact that art crime, particularly illicit trade in antiquities, funds terrorism.  Check it out here.isis_art

  • Pablo Picasso: Art Thief

    The Secret History of Art recently published a peer-reviewed academic article on the “affaire des statuettes,” in which Pablo Picasso may be reasonably seen to have commissioned the theft of statue heads from the Louvre.  The article appeared in the journal, Arte, Individuo y Sociedad, and can be accessed here.

    For some reason the footnotes were not included in the online version (the editors ave been contacted with a request to amend this), with only in-text citations.  Until this is addressed, I am including the footnotes here.  Of particular import is my initial note, giving proper credit for the majority of the on-site research to Dr Silvia Loreti, whose pioneering work on this subject first appeared as a chapter in Charney (ed) Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Praeger 2009). Here is the reference that should have appeared in the journal version of the article:

    picasso hands up

    “This article is adapted from a chapter in Charney, Noah The Thefts of the Mona Lisa: On Stealing the World’s Most Famous Painting (ARCA Press, 2011).  I am indebted in this article to the art historian Silvia Loreti, who was the first to break the full details of the story of Picasso and Apollinaire’s “affaire des statuettes.”  While scholars such as John Richardson mention the affair, and Picasso’s former lover Fernande Olivier recalls portions of the case in her memoirs, Loreti was the first to focus on the issue and dig deeply into the Louvre archives, noting numerous irregularities for the first time.  The examination of the Louvre archives is her work and, rather than citing her efforts in the majority of these notes, suffice it to say that the credit for digging up information on this case goes to her and to John Richardson, in his definitive Picasso biography series.  Loreti’s article was first published in Charney, Noah (ed.) Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Praeger, 2009).  This article could not have been written without her extensive research, and the credit for discovery of most of the facts is entirely hers.”

    *

    My work on this subject is based on Loreti’s and John Richardson’s research, and is largely concerned with painting the entire picture of the “affaire des statuettes” and the Mona Lisa theft, and their roles in the history of art and art theft. I used secondary research for the most part, and the thanks for the primary source material research goes to Loreti and Richardson.

    FOOTNOTES (Please contact the author if you would like to be emailed a copy of this article with all footnotes)

    *This article is adapted from a chapter in Charney, Noah The Thefts of the Mona Lisa: On Stealing the World’s Most Famous Painting (ARCA Press, 2011).  I am indebted in this article to the art historian Silvia Loreti, who was the first to break the full details of the story of Picasso and Apollinaire’s “affaire des statuettes.”  While scholars such as John Richardson mention the affair, and Picasso’s former lover Fernande Olivier recalls portions of the case in her memoirs, Loreti was the first to focus on the issue and dig deeply into the Louvre archives, noting numerous irregularities for the first time.  The examination of the Louvre archives is her work and, rather than citing her efforts in the majority of these notes, suffice it to say that the credit for digging up information on this case goes to her and to John Richardson, in his definitive Picasso biography series.  Loreti’s article was first published in Charney, Noah (ed.) Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Praeger, 2009).  This article could not have been written without her extensive research, and the credit for discovery of most of the facts is entirely hers.

    [1] These statements were made by Edmond Pottier, a Louvre curator, who made comments after he recognized photographs of a pair of statue heads published in Paris-Journal.  Pottier, Edmond, August 29, 1911, Archives des musées nationaux, Musée du Louvre, folder A15, first discovered by Silvia Loreti.

    [1] Picasso discussed the affaire des statuettes and its influence on his painting in a 1960 interview: Dor de la Souchère, Romuald Picasso à Antibes (Hazan : Paris, 1960), p.15

    [1] This is attested to in a letter written by Guillaume Apollinaire in 1915: Apollinaire, Guillaume, Letter to Madeleine Pages July 30, 1915, in Apollinaire, Lettres à Madeleine. Tendre comme le souvenir (Gallimard : Paris, 2005), pp.96-8.

    [1] Precious little is known about Géry Pieret (a shame because his biography would be fascinating).  Most of the surviving material was first published in John Richardson A Life of Picasso: 1907-1917 – The Painter of Modern Life (Pimlico: London, 1997), vol.2, pp.20-1.

    [1] For more on the origins of the Louvre, please see Charney (2010).

    [1] Le Matin, Nov. 10, 1906

    [1] Esterow (1966), p.122

    [1] Paris-Journal 29 August 1911.  Unless cited as “quoted in,” the translations are by the author.

    [1] “On vol au Louvre”, Le Matin, Nov. 10, 1906; “On a volé au Louvre, et on y volera demain, si des solutions seriéuses ne sont prises”, L’Intransigeant, Nov. 11, 1906, p.2.  These objects were found in a hairdresser’s shop in 1908, and a Louvre guard was imprisoned for his role in their theft.

    [1] This letter was written on 9 September 1911 and was published 12 September 1911 in Paris-Journal, p.1

    [1] “Le Louvre récupère ses richesses,” Paris-Journal,  6 September 1911, p.1

    [1] Pottier, Edmond, August 29, 1911, Archives des musées nationaux, Musée du Louvre, folder A15.  Pottier to Homolle, 31 August 1911

    [1] Pottier, Edmond, Sept. 6, 1911, Archives des musées nationaux, Musée du Louvre, folder A15.

    [1] One may wonder why the actual thief was not demonized—in this period, as we will discuss later, the idea of a gentlemanly thief was romanticized, based largely on the novels, in France, of Maurice LeBlanc.  As a Belgian, Géry Pieret was foreign but francophone, and therefore not nearly so foreign as Picasso and Apollinaire who may have spoken good French but who would have drawn the xenophobia of many of the French at this time

    [1] Olivier, Fernande Picasso et ses amis (1933), Pygmalion: Paris, 2002, p.184

    [1] For more on this, see Richardson (1997)

    [1] Ibid.

    [1] Apollinaire, Guillaume, Letter to Madeleine Pages July 30, 1915, in Apollinaire, Lettres à Madeleine. Tendre comme le souvenir, Gallimard : Paris, 2005, pp.96-8

    [1] Jacquet-Pfau, Christine and Décaudin, Michel “L’Affaire des statuettes. Suite sans fin…,” Que vlo-ve?, 23 (July-Sept. 1987), pp. 21-3

    [1] “M. Guillaume Apollinaire raconte l’histoire de son secrétaire Géry Pieret, Baron Ignace d’Ormesan, voleur au Louvre et en quelques autres lieux”; “M. Apollinaire prouve que Géry Pieret n’a pas pu voler la Joconde”, Le Matin, Sept. 13, 1911, p. 1.

    [1] Soffici, Ardengo Ricordi di vita artistica e letteraria (Florence, 1931), p.47

    [1] Postcard addressed to Picasso from Bruxelles and signed Guillaume Apollinaire and Géry Pieret, April 13, 1907: Caizergues, Pierre and Seckel, Hélène (eds.) Picasso Apollinaire. Corréspondances (Gallimard: Paris, 1992), p.59

    [1] Letter and postcard sent by Pieret to Apollinaire from Brussels respectively on date April 4, 1907 and April 7, 1907: Stallano, Jacqueline “Une relation encombrante: Géry Pieret”, in Michel Décaudin (ed.), Amis européens d’Apollinaire, Sorbonne nouvelle: Paris, 1995, p.17

    [1] Art objects may be roughly defined as man-made creations deemed part of the cultural heritage of a nation or people, the primary value of which is non-intrinsic (as opposed to jewelry, for example, the value of which is mainly the sum of its components—unless the jewelry was made or owned by a renowned artist or individual, in which case its value would be raised considerably for non-intrinsic reasons).  For precise numbers of reported thefts and artworks stolen, please refer to Interpol’s Stolen Works of Art CD-ROM, published annually, or any of the Carabinieri Yearbooks, which list annual thefts from within Italy alone as ranging from 20,000-30,000 objects reported stolen.  Reported thefts certainly represent only a fraction of the actual number of thefts taking place each year.  For various reasons, many other thefts go undetected, unreported, or are improperly filed and reported

    [1] The link to organized crime is documented in numerous case studies, but the connection to terrorism has been discussed and is believed by prominent government bureaus, but has not been sufficiently substantiated by documents in the public record, beyond a handful of important cases.  This assertion, as well as the ranking of art crime as the third highest-grossing criminal trade worldwide comes from a UK National Threat Assessment, conducted by SOCA (Serious Organized Crime Agency).  The statistics for the study were provided by Scotland Yard in 2006/2007, but are classified.  The report remained in the Threat Assessment for several years.  The terrorist links to the Middle East were brought to European attention by the Interpol Tracking Task Force in Iraq and were reported at the annual Interpol Stolen Works of Art meeting in Lyon in 2008 and 2009, after prior meetings had been held in Lyon, Amman, and Washington.  The Head of Interpol IP Baghdad claimed to have proof of the link between Islamic Fundamentalist terrorist groups and art crime (primarily antiquities looting).  Major bureaus, from Interpol to Scotland Yard to the Carabinieri to the US Dept of Justice, believed these reports and still broadcast the claims of it, so there is no reason to doubt it—but the details have yet to be made available to the general public or scholars

    [1] Pottier, Edmond, Sept. 6, 1911, Archives des musées nationaux, Musée du Louvre, folder A15

    [1] Mentioned by a tour guide on a recent visit to the Louvre

    [1] Dor de la Souchère (1960), p.15.  The connections in this paragraph were first noted by Silvia Loreti in her chapter in Charney (ed.) Art & Crime (2009)

    [1] There could, of course, have been another person, an as yet unidentified accomplice.  But since Apollinaire and Picasso’s involvement is well documented from various angles, and since neither they nor Géry Pieret ever mentioned another individual, despite being quite open about their involvement, a fourth accomplice does not seem likely

    [1] Read, Peter Picasso et Apollinaire. Les métamorphoses de la mémoire 1905-1973 (Jean-Michel Place : Paris, 1995), p.71

  • The Latest on Leonardo’s Lost “Battle”

    In an extremely concise dispatch for Hemispheres magazine, the Secret History of Art writes the latest on the search for Leonardo’s lost “Battle of Anghiari” painting, hidden by Giorgio Vasari behind a false wall in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio.  I’m at work on a big feature story bringing this up to date and correcting some major problems in reporting it that the world media got wrong, as well as breaking 5 new news points…  More to come, plus a fuller report on this in my forthcoming, co-written book (with Ingrid Rowland), THE COLLECTOR OF LIVES: GIORGIO VASARI AND THE INVENTION OF ART (Norton, November 2015).

    the-battle-of-anghiari-miguel-rodriguez

     

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