Is Art Forgery a Reality in Puerto Rico and How Can We Avoid it?



Art forgery is  creating and selling of works of art which are falsely accredited to other, usually more famous, artists. Art forgery can be extremely lucrative which this has been the case with Augusto Marin, John Balossi, Angel Botello, Julio Rosado del Valle and Olga Albizu in Puerto Rico. A thing they all have in common is that their work are really valuable in price and  all artist are dead which make this into a bigger problem. Who is the one that can decide what piece is “ok” and which is ” not so ok”, Because most of this artist never issued Certify of Authenticity at the time of the sale.  Modern dating techniques have made the identification of forged artwork much simpler but this type of service are not that common in the art community here in Puerto Rico. Every time an expert is fooled by a fake, the faker has once again taught us that connoisseurship is not to be trusted. More important, we’re reminded that the whole idea of a unique artistic “touch,” along with the ideal of “authenticity” that goes with it, may be beside the point in our understanding of art.


Puerto Rico Economy is not at is best at this moment, and lots of people are taking this to there advantage selling art forgery to make monthly ends. In the  last 6 month I personally have been offer two Julio Rosado del Valle painting which where all fake at really good prices, The prices where so good that it raised a Red Flag in my mind, eventually all the paintings didn’t check out making me every time more and more selective on buying new art which to me I think this is only the beginning.  I think this  may happen  in a near future where collectors eventually will get  scared off by the danger of being stuck with fakes, making prices fall even more.

Here are some tips that could help you in a Future from  Rogue ‘Magazine.

Old frames are sometimes cut down and placed on fake paintings to enhance their original period looks, and fool innocent victims. (Check to see whether joints match the age of the frame or look fresh and recently cut).

Paper, either new or old, is glued over a painting’s back. This is sometimes done to hide inconsistencies, condition problems, or other manipulations. The back of a painting is as important as the front (sometimes even more so). Always inspect a painting from the back before buying– and learn what to look for when you do.

Watch out for cleanly cut edges on canvas or artist’s board that have no overhanging paint or primer along those edges. This may mean the art has been cut down from its original size, thereby reducing its value and desirability to collectors. A very clean paint line along edges might also mean that some kind of mechanical reproductive process has been used either in full or in part to create the image.

Old nail or mounting marks on the back of an artist’s board or stretcher bars may mean that a painting has been removed, doctored, and then replaced into either its original frame or different one. Professionals can also spot when nails have been pulled, paintings removed from their frames, and then replaced.

Beware of new stretcher bars on old canvases. Restorers legitimately use new stretcher bars when old ones can no longer support a weak or damaged canvas, but forgers may also use them to help obscure or alter a painting’s identity.

On graphics, watercolors, and other works on paper, watch out for signatures that look fresher, bolder, or otherwise inconsistent with the art itself. Shaky or rigid signatures rather than smooth spontaneous ones are sometimes a giveaway as well.

Be cautious when you find labels or artist listings that have been recently glued onto the backs of unsigned works of art– unless you’re positive they’re as old as the art itself. No matter how good these additions look or how important the artists’ names are, remember that the art is still unsigned.

Watch for signs that a new painting has been recently “aged” to look old. For example, stretcher bars might be sprayed with stains to make the wood look older, old stickers might be added to either the frame backs or stretcher bars, paintings might be surfaced with yellow-toned varnishes to make them look antique, and sometimes even fake “dust” is added by more enterprising criminals.


In my Opinion I always try to buy art directly from the artist or with a Certify of Authenticity, this are very important tools if you ever are going to sell your art, another advice is visit all the museum you can, this way you start teaching your eyes on small tell sign that the artist employed on there work. And finally make relationship with museum curators this way any time that you are buying art you can send details picture of the work of art and have a better opinion from an expert.


by Joey Medrano




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s