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]

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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Jeff Koons's Puppy Sculpture, at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Is Donning a Face Mask

Puppy by artist Jeff Koons is now sporting a face mask.
Puppy by artist Jeff Koons is now sporting a face mask.
Erika Ede/Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Artist Jeff Koons’s Puppy sculpture located at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Bilbao, Spain, has always been dynamic. The 40-foot-tall depiction of a West Highland Terrier is made of flower mantles that change with the seasons. From begonias and petunias in spring and summer to pansies in winter, it’s never exactly the same thing twice.

Now Koons is offering another variation on Puppy—a face mask made from flowers.

The addition was made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that’s radically altered life for citizens worldwide and serves as a reminder that public health policy could save lives.

“What an honor it is to be able to have Puppy communicate the importance of wearing a mask during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Koons said in a press release. “A Bilbao resident sent me a letter asking if Puppy could wear a mask, which I thought was wonderful idea. I was thrilled that the Museum agreed as now Puppy, adorned with a mask made of white and blue flowers, can communicate the importance of wearing a mask to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

"One of the most important acts that we can make to each other during this pandemic is to share information on how we can protect each other. I can imagine that the Puppy has appreciated all of the love shown toward it and is so happy to communicate safety and well-being to the citizens of Bilbao and the world.”

Puppy has been in residence since the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao opened in 1997. Koons has made a career of outsized sculptures. His Balloon Dog sold for $58.4 million in 2013.