MasterFleece: A Book In Progress...

A search for eight missing paintings uncovers fraud at the upper reaches of the art and academic world…

MasterFleece

Joe Webb is penning a book about art fraud and theft while searching for eight missing paintings…The search continues from New York to London to Florida… Title: MasterFleece

MasterFleece

In 1978, noted art historian, collector, philanthropist Earle W. Newton, while Executive Director of Historic Richmond Town on Staten Island, was paid for eight paintings by a collector on the Gulf Coast…No paintings were ever delivered, however, evidence of the transaction was resurrected from files of the now deceased collector…We cannot ascertain at this juncture whether the paintings were original, copies of original by master (or his student…common practice in those days), an unauthorized copy by a competent art student or journeyman artist, or a modern fake used in an art scam…We believe that the paintings, real or otherwise, may be part of a collection…We further believe that these paintings , if not sold to someone else, may have been taken into a public collection (or collections) with scant verification, vetting, or provenance…


Thanksgiving 1992… British portrait expert and later famous writer Phillip Mould visits art historian, collector, philanthropist Earle W.Newton in Vermont…What he saw shocked him…Later he turned his visit into the first chapter of a book: Sleuth: The Amazing Quest for Lost Art Treasures (2009) Harper Collins ISBN 978-0007319152 retitled for US edition as The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures (2010)…The name of the Newton chapter is entitled “The Case Of The Hidden Hoard”


Why Mould is important to our investigation? Two reasons: One…He had eyes on Newton’s collection… Two…He was one of the few people to interview Newton in the birth of internet age…I have read the chapter
on Newton over and over…Though I applaud Mould’s writing skill, I do not believe, even with Mould’s prowess of appraising (and given the time spent in Newtons museum) he could have categorically claimed that the collection was original…No way! So let us imagine that Mould was dead on the money about the veracity of Newtons “hidden hoard”…Then what prevented this art detective and sleuth from addressing the gargantuan„ meandering elephant in the room…

And this the most salient, primal question a purveyor of the truth could ever ask: How does a man living a hand to mouth existence with no visible means of support accumulate such treasures and then just give them away..?  I sent this question to Mr. Mould hoping for illumination…So far, no response from him…

Toward the end of his life Earle W. Newton donated hundreds of paintings and prints to the Savannah Center For Art & Design (SCAD) Museum of Art in Georgia. This nearly $10,000,000 legacy was quickly named The Earle W. Newton Center For British & American Studies in the early 2000’s. Today it is known as Earle W. Newton Collection of British & American Art. Why an art college on the coast of Georgia?  Why SCAD?… (more later)

…Joe Webb

The Art Detective:
Fakes, Frauds and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures
 :
http://www.amazon.com/Art-Detective-Adventures-Antiques-Appraiser/dp/0143119168#reader_0143119168

Tips leading to recovery or disposition of these and other paintings treated with ultimate hush hush…

 



www.ArtDefective.com

 


joe@joewebb.com