The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

December 28, 2011

Dec. 28, 2010

According to the blurb of a recent book Denis Dutton  (February 9, 1944  to December 28, 2010) was "the founder and editor of the hugely popular Web site "Arts & Letters Daily," named by the "Guardian" as the best Web site in the world. He also founded ... the journal "Philosophy and Literature," and ...[was] a professor of the philosophy of art at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand."

The recent book is The art instinct: beauty, pleasure, & human evolution (2009)  Here Dutton says, in discussing the beginning of  Eric Hebborn's career as an art forger in the 1950s:

...Hebborn was repainting large areas of old works, cleverly "improving" them. An insignificant landscape became, with the additon of a balloon in its gray sky, an important (and expensive) painting documenting the early history of aviation. As Hebborn wrote, "adding a cat to the foreground guaranteed the sale of the dullest landscape.." Such "improved" pictures went straight into gold frames and the plush surroundings of a dealer gallery...
...This charming rogue died from a hammer blow to the back of his skull received in a dark alley in Rome in 1996. Police were never able to make an arrest for the murder.

It is Dutton's assessment that because of the enormous artistic  talent of  Hebborn, (as opposed to many forgers) the complete identification of his forgeries will probably never be accomplished, and thereby weeded out of the museums and private collection where they still reside.

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