Security measures for ‘authentic fakes’ paintings

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The Boijmans Van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam is sending the painting, The Head of Christ, to Springfield Museums in Massachusetts, United States, for an exhibition this month.

Boijmans Van Beuningen / Wikipedia

The painting will be exhibited in the U.S. for the first time. The Head of Christ is part of the exhibition Intent to Deceive: Fakes and Forgeries in the Art World, according to a news report by The News York Times.

A personal escort will accompany the painting, and a 24-hour escort is not an unusual requirement for valuable international museum loans. But the security arrangements, estimated to cost more than $31,000, are interesting and notable in this case because the painting is a fake.

The Boijmans loan and other famous fakes will be exhibited in a traveling show. All these paintings retain a valuable mystique.

“They’re not original artworks, but they’re so prestigious that they require the same security measures as an authentic work,” said Julia Courtney, Springfield Museums’ curator of art.

Friso Lammertse, the curator of old master paintings at the Boijmans, said “the requirements for security are not different than other works we give on loan.”

Colette Loll, the exhibition’s curator and an art investigator who organized the exhibition with the nonprofit group International Arts & Artists, said she was shocked when she heard the $31,000 estimate for the security arrangements demanded by just the Boijmans.