Authentication of painting questioned

April 18, 2008 at 3:21 PM
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NEW YORK, April 18 (UPI) -- A fingerprint analyst says evidence used to authenticate a purported Jackson Pollock artwork found in a New York garage may have been copied onto the painting.

Artwork authenticator Peter Paul Biro recently declared the artwork was a Pollock work after saying fingerprints found on the painting matched prints found on a paint can stored in Pollack's East Hampton, N.Y., studio, the New York Post reported Friday.

However, Pat Wertheim, a renowned law enforcement fingerprint expert, said prints on the painting were copied from the can and applied to the painting.

"The fingerprints on the painting were forged, placed there by means of an inked rubber stamp made from a cast taken from the print on the paint can in the Pollock studio," Wertheim wrote for Global Fine Art Registry, a monitor of art sales and disputed works. Wertheim's report doesn't say who may have put the suspect fingerprints on the painting.

Biro said the allegation was "libelous," inviting a possible lawsuit, the Post said.

"This is nothing short of defamation," he said. "I use forensic science to demonstrate authenticity. They view me as direct competition and have every interest in sullying my name."

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