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Vanity Fake

November 17, 2019

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Vanity Fake

“You look like Van Gogh. Why don’t you cut off an ear?” With such cruelty I stopped the verbal diarrhea of a painter who was complaining, incapable of swimming with sharks in formalin. I admit my responsibility in having created a fake monster; now he is dedicated to painting sunflowers, cypresses, and cereal fields in the manner of the madman with red hair. His main clientele are soccer players, the madam of a luxury brothel, and rap singers. He continues with both ears, no longer complains so much, and also earns much more dough than with his previous exhibitions.

The picaresque abound in the art world, confusing value and price. The latest scandal has splashed the prince of Wales. A snob—sin nobilitas—who claims to be friends with the heir to the throne of England, as he used to court the heiress of the Ecclestone empire, philanthropically lent some supposed works by Monet, Picasso, and Dalí to exhibit at the foundation of Dumfries House. But the self-love of the forger, Tony Tetro, recognizing them as his own, made all the alarms go off and the paintings have been removed. Would anyone have noticed? We are talking about paintings, not organic artichokes. According to Tetro himself, the works in question would not have exceeded the eye of an expert and it bothered him to be part of such a crude deception to the prince.

But that is one of the dreams of any art scammer. That the falsifications enter into an exhibition of relief and form part of a catalog that gives them a patina of respectability. In this way, the fake can sneak into the hands of an avid collector for millions instead of thousands.

Such a method was already recognized by Elmyr de Hory, a stateless person of Hungarian origin who took refuge in the Ibiza of the ’60s. He liked to live big, but his own paintings were not even good enough for a goulash. So he decided to make fun of all those bozos who only buy a painting for the signature. He began to paint in the manner of Picasso, Matisse, Dufy, Bonnard, Modigliani…

“The picaresque abound in the art world, confusing value and price.”

Clifford Irving wrote his story and the magician Orson Welles took it to the screen. He became so famous that there are even those who fake Elmyrs. And his name is still dynamite in collections and museums around the world.

The art world is ideal for such scams, and Vanity Fake invades everything in this globalized era of cybernetic onanism and the legions of nouveaux riches. From the news to great wines, through the fiery oriental nights, where, if you flirt with any disturbed Lolita over a meter seventy in the subway, you risk coming into contact with a Malaysian kris.

And I took her to the river,
Believing it was mozuela.
And it turned out to be an uncle,
That almost sneaks in.

That is why it is best to always follow your own intuition, before what any presenter, pimp, or dealer tells you. And if they cheat you, at least it should be with pleasure.

(To read this article in its original Spanish, see below.)

Vanity Fake

“Te pareces a Van Gogh. ¿Por qué no te cortas una oreja?”. Con tal crueldad paré la diarrea verbal de un pintor demasiado quejica, incapaz de nadar en un mundo de tiburones en formol. Admito mi responsabilidad en haber creado un monstruo del fake: ahora se dedica a pintar girasoles, cipreses y campos de cereales a la manera del loco de pelo rojo. Su principal clientela son futbolistas, la madame de un burdel de lujo y cantantes de rap. Sigue con las dos orejas, ya no se queja tanto, y además gana mucha más pasta que con sus anteriores exposiciones.

La picaresca abunda en la feria de vanidades del arte, confundiendo valor y precio. El último escándalo ha salpicado al príncipe de Gales. Un snob—sine nobilitas—que presume de ser amigo del heredero al trono de Inglaterra como antes cortejaba a la heredera del imperio Ecclestone, filantrópicamente prestó unas supuestas obras de Monet, Picasso y Dalí para exponerse en la fundación de Dumfries House. Pero el amor propio del falsificador, Tony Tetro, reconociéndolas como suyas, hizo saltar todas las alarmas y las pinturas han sido retiradas. ¿Alguien se habría dado cuenta? Estamos hablando de pinturas, no de alcachofas ecológicas. Según el propio Tetro, las obras en cuestión no hubieran superado el ojo de un experto y le molestaba ser parte de tan burdo engaño al príncipe.

Pero ese es uno de los sueños de cualquier estafador de arte. Que las falsificaciones entren en alguna exposición de relieve y formen parte de un catálogo que les dé una pátina de respetabilidad. De tal forma, el fake se podrá colar a algún ávido coleccionista por millones en vez de miles.

Tal método era ya reconocido por Elmyr de Hory, un apátrida de origen húngaro que se refugió en la Ibiza de los años sesenta. Le gustaba vivir a lo grande, pero su propia pintura no daba siquiera para un goulash. Así que decidió burlar a todos aquellos cabestros que solo compran un cuadro por su firma. Se puso a pintar a la manera de Picasso, Matisse, Dufy, Bonnard, Modigliani…

Clifford Irving escribió su historia y el mago Orson Welles la llevó a la pantalla. Se hizo tan famoso que actualmente hay quien falsifica Elmyrs. Y su nombre todavía es dinamita en colecciones y museos de todo el mundo.

El mundo del arte sigue siendo ideal para tales estafas, pero el Vanity Fake lo invade todo en esta época globalizada de onanismo cibernético y legiones de nouveau riche. Desde las noticias hasta los grandes vinos, pasando por las ardientes noches orientales, donde, si ligas con cualquier turbadora lolita que pase de metro setenta, te arriesgas a descubrir un kriss malayo.

Y yo me la llevé al río,
Creyendo que era mozuela.
Y resultó ser un tío,
Que por poco me la cuela.

Por eso lo mejor es seguir siempre la propia intuición, antes que lo que cualquier presentador, chulo o marchand nos diga. Y si te engañan, al menos que sea con gusto.

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