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DNA test for artwork aims to thwart forgery

| | October 14, 2015
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The artist Eric Fischl remembers the time a friend waved a catalog at him to alert him that one of his paintings was up for auction for six figures in London. In reality, the work was a fake, but so convincing, Mr. Fischl said, “I thought I was losing my mind.”

Brushes with forgery like that one two decades ago, and concerns about his legacy and estate, prompted Mr. Fischl to appear in London on Monday to vouch for a new authentication system that would let artists sign their works with specks of synthetic DNA.

The method is being developed at the Global Center for Innovation at the State University of New York at Albany. The school said it had received $2 million in funding from the ARIS Title Insurance Corporation, which specializes in art.

Two years ago, the center, known for its work in bioengineering, encryption and nanotechnology, set about developing a way to infuse paintings, sculptures and other artworks with complex molecules of DNA created in the lab.

Experts say fakes have become one of the most vexing problems in the art market. Scandals like the one involving dozens of forgeries sold through the venerable Knoedler Gallery in Manhattan before it closed in 2011 are sapping the confidence of buyers, owners and artists, they say.

Read full, original post: Art Forgers Beware: DNA Could Thwart Fakes

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