Trojan Horse
TAC Special

Etymology: the Trojan horse that can create or break a work of art

The who, when & where of proprietorship can lead to erudite, moral, legitimate & empirical issues.
 || Maithillee Zaveri

Among the distinctive classifications of information comprising any good catalog raisonnè, “Etymology” counts as perhaps the most robust Trojan horse. An ostensibly monotonous term, it has the tendency to conceal an original army – in – waiting of details & fictions able to create or break a work’s prestige.

Several data in catalogues raisonnès is cut – & – dried – for example, the measurements, media & composition sources for a given piece. Other zones can be pricklier, significantly sequential. The latter may request a half – breed adroitness: historical study, old – fashioned connoisseurship & an eagerness to reconsider the whole corpus (as Anthony Blunt prominently did with Poussin). But Etymology is the connection where objective thinking challenges an often preposterous world of human beings with their ineluctable infirmity, aspiration & sincerity or otherwise.

The who, where & when concerning proprietorship – the core of etymology is foundational for the DNA, so to state, deciding an art object. In turn, this scheme has the ability to lead into erudite, moral, legitimate & empirical issues. A deficient etymology offence the ideal wholeness to which catalogs raises yearn, but documentation that dilates through the past to the artists themselves goes further towards corroborating veracity. Secondly, when forged, as Noah Charney describes in some cases in the Art of Counterfeit, the technique becomes an apparatus for deceits. Most recently, the Knoedler slander’s counterfeits pivoted upon a conundrum collector who somehow vamoosed without a piece of paperwork behind. Why? Because inevitably he was found never to have existed.

Etymology compels the indemnity of works – epitomized by those which the Nazis plundered.

Lastly, etymology compels the indemnity of works to their legitimate hands – vividly epitomized by those which the Nazis plundered thus, enticing legitimate action, personal memories, injury & the like. Broadly acknowledged in this manner, etymology’s possibility indeed pushes forward, as with the exceptional nomadic moves & disjunction that Jan Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece has experienced since it’s installation in St Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent, in 1432. Fixity & altering fortunes are flip sides to etymology’s zestfulness.

In the last expedient, etymology implies a journey for origins in all their numerous forms – hereby serving the diverse requirements of researchers, collectors, merchants, bid residencies & historical centers. Indeed, no matter how we vision etymology, it remains the imperative evidence of the acknowledged pudding in myriad art matters.

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1 comment

Vito Lampl December 7, 2020 at 12:51 am



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