Modification:Sciento-2017-0010

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Accept the following reconstruction of the authority delegation structure in the art market regarding the works of Modigliani between 1997 and 2015: a work claimed to be by Modigliani is authentic iff (1) it is in the Ceroni catalogue raisonné or (2) if it is not in catalogue and has been certified as authentic by Marc Restellini.

The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Mirka Loiselle on 19 May 2017.1 The modification is currently being evaluated; a verdict is pending.

Preamble

Authority delegation structure in the art market regarding the works of Modigliani between 1997 and 2015 reveals a hierarchy of experts. Ambrogio Ceroni is renowned for his conservative and meticulous research techniques and his insistence to examine every single work in person before including it in his catalogue. Because his judgement is highly respected in the art world, any work listed in the Ceroni catalogue is believed to be genuine. However, Ceroni's catalog is also considered incomplete because he never traveled to the United States.

There is another expert that the art market community regards as reliable in these cases. From 1997 until 2015, Modigliani scholar Marc Restellini had been commissioned by the Wildenstein institute to create a new catalogue for the artist. A leading publisher in the creation of catalogue raisonnés, the Wildenstein Institute is highly trusted in the art world, which lent great credence to Restellini’s research. There is historical evidence that the art market did delegate authority to him: in 2012, for instance, after Restellini had acknowledged its authenticity, a Modigliani portrait entitled Jeune Fille aux Cheveux Noir was sold by Bonham’s auction house, despite the fact that the painting was not included in the Ceroni catalogue.

However, despite the respect he garnered in the art world, Restellini did not manage to completely usurp Ceroni as the sole authority on Modigliani. For example, in 1997 Christie’s asked Restellini to evaluate a portrait of Beatrice Hastings which was included in the Ceroni catalogue. Restellini declared that although the painting had at one point been worked on by Modigliani, it was now so badly overpainted that it could no longer be considered authentic. As such, he stated that it would not be included in his upcoming catalogue. Christie’s, however, decided to sell it anyway as a genuine Modigliani.

It appears, then, that between 1997 and 2015 the art market delegated authority to both the Ceroni catalogue and Marc Restellini. However, unlike the case of Picasso’s children, the authority was not delegated to a single combined mosaic that contained only the theories agreed upon by both experts. Rather, the art market delegated first to Ceroni and only then to Restellini – only if the Ceroni catalogue had nothing to say on the authenticity of the painting in question. In other words, this case can be interpreted as that of hierarchical authority delegation. Indeed, it appears as though Restellini was not given the same degree of authority as Ceroni. The Ceroni catalogue would be considered the first authority on the topic, while Restellini’s opinion would matter only in those cases when the painting was not included in the Ceroni catalogue.

Modification

Accept the following reconstruction of the authority delegation structure in the art market regarding the works of Modigliani between 1997 and 2015:

  • A work claimed to be by Modigliani is authentic iff (1) it is in the Ceroni catalogue raisonné or (2) if it is not in catalogue and has been certified as authentic by Marc Restellini.
Art Market Modigliani Authority Delegation Structure (Loiselle-2017).png

Verdict

The modification is currently being evaluated; a verdict is pending.

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References

  1. ^  Loiselle, Mirka. (2017) Multiple Authority Delegation in Art Authentication. Scientonomy 1, 41-53. Retrieved from https://www.scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/28233.