How to Spot a Fake Painting, According to Forgery Experts

A visitor photographs 'Mural' by Jackson Pollock.
A visitor photographs 'Mural' by Jackson Pollock.
Adam Berry, Stringer

Even for the most educated art lovers, spotting forgeries isn't an easy skill to master. In this video from WIRED, forensic scientist Thiago Piwowarczyk and art historian Jeffrey Taylor share some of the strategies they use to weed out fake paintings from the real thing.

Making a career out of identifying art forgeries means learning to recognize the tricks scammers use to make their works seem authentic. In the case of the alleged Jackson Pollock painting Piwowarczyk and Taylor examine in the video, tea bags have been dabbed onto the canvas and nicotine has been sprayed over it to make it seem older than it actually is. The experts also catch a few incriminating details that the forger missed, like staple holes, which you wouldn't find on a painting produced in the 1950s, and a missing signature. X-ray fluorescence analysis, microscopy, and documents of past ownership can also reveal clues that either prove or disprove a painting's legitimacy.

There are many ways to spot a fake painting, but this doesn't stop forgeries from slipping into famous art collections. The Terrus Museum in France recently learned that more than half the paintings in its collection were fakes, and in 2017, art experts argued over the provenance of Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi when it became the most expensive painting ever sold.

Jackson Pollock's seemingly random style is hard to authenticate, but as the experts show in the video below, it is possible. There was even a computer program created a few years ago that identified Pollock works with a 93 percent success rate.

[h/t WIRED]

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

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This 10-Year-Old Is Sending Art Supplies to Hundreds of Kids in Homeless Shelters and Foster Homes

Evgeniia Siiankovskaia/iStock via Getty Images
Evgeniia Siiankovskaia/iStock via Getty Images

She may be stuck at home, but Chelsea Phaire has found a way to connect with hundreds of kids during the COVID-19 pandemic. As CNN reports, the 10-year-old from Danbury, Connecticut, has used her time in isolation to send 1500 art project packs to kids in foster homes and homeless shelters.

Phaire had been interested in starting a charity from a young age, and on her birthday in August 2019, she launched Chelsea's Charity with help from her parents. Instead of birthday gifts, Chelsea asked for art supplies, and all the items she received went to a homeless shelter in New York. The Phaires have since set up a wishlist on Amazon, so anyone can donate supplies for the art kits. One pack includes crayons, paper, markers, gel pens, coloring books, and colored pencils.

In recent months, Phaire's mission to provide resources to underserved kids has become more vital than ever. Schools around the country have closed to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, which means kids have less access to art supplies than they did before. Young people may also be dealing with increased stress and boredom from being isolated inside. By sharing art kits, Phaire hopes to give them a healthy outlet for their struggles.

Chelsea's Charity has donated more than 1500 kits to schools, shelters, and foster homes since stay-at-home orders rolled out in March, which is more than was donated in the initiative's first five months. COVID-19 has forced Phaire to do some things differently: While she would normally get to meet many of the people she helps in person, she now sends all her donations by mail. Until it's safe to travel again, she's staying connected to kids through social media, as you can see in the video below.

[h/t CNN]