Because of my interest in the role that archives played in the John Drewe/John Myatt art forgery case, I was naturally eager to see The Forger, a 2012 movie about (wait for it), an art forger. In this case, a teenage prodigy stumbles into the business of creating and auctioning rare paintings.

Carmel_FilmPoster

Because The Forger is a coming-of-age story, the details of art forgery did not play a large role. Although I was prepared to give the movie a long leash of artistic license, I was severely disappointed by one specific, archives-shaped plot-hole: during the auction at which a forged painting is to be sold, the villainous character claims that the the painting “was thought to have been lost or destroyed in World War I. But it was found, perfectly intact, and with a verifiable provenance. The characters go on to do a live infrared analysis of the canvas to “prove [the painting’s] authenticity beyond a doubt.”

The process by which the villain produced this “verifiable provenance” is never shown, and the value of chain of custody documentation is unfortunately not addressed other than the brief mention above.

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