Revolutionary technology invented to identify counterfeit parts in the automotive and aerospace industries has now been adapted to detect counterfeit works of art.
The developers of the “optical recognition system” claim to have created “tamper-proof digital fingerprints” for paintings and sculptures that could, for example, enable museums to detect – within seconds – whether an original work has been replaced by a fake.
A German museum recently fell victim to such a crime. employee Replace three panels With the fakes, he sells the originals to reward himself with a Rolls Royce and other luxuries.
Bosch developed this technology, called Origify, in 2017 to stop the trade in counterfeit spare parts for cars and aircraft. The German manufacturer is considered the largest supplier to the automotive industry. Until Origify was developed, it had struggled to combat counterfeiting and other forms of fraud in the manufacturing and parts market, where it is easy for counterfeiters to bring in illegal products, with unregulated networks of dealers and repair shops.
These counterfeit parts include exhaust sensors that are too small to carry stickers or identification markings. The proprietary camera system captures selected unique details that are not normally visible to the human eye, stores the data in a “tamper-resistant cloud” and enables authentication using a smartphone app. “It's really like looking at someone's fingerprint, a unique fingerprint that can't be copied,” said Oliver Steinbeis, the inventor of Origify.
“Due to the statistical thresholds of our algorithm, it is impossible to identify an unregistered image as an original. Even with art prints of the same production, images are uniquely identified.
As an art lover, he suddenly realized that he could expand his use to include paintings, prints and sculptures. Even if the work undergoes restoration, untouched areas will still provide important data. Steinbeis is scheduled to meet European museum security chiefs next month.
Michael Daly, Director of ArtWatch UK, An independent regulatory body for the preservation of art“Bosch's scheme seems technically possible,” he said. “Every work of art—from drawings and prints to paintings and sculptures—is a manufactured object, and no matter how skillfully an intended facsimile may be at imitating the visual appearance of a particular work of art, it cannot replicate the means by which it was created.” This work was originally constructed.It is inevitable that, upon a certain level of scrutiny, differences in the story of composition will become apparent.
The German case in September 2023 concerned the German Museum in Munich, where an employee working in the archives took a painting by Franz von Stock in the Art Nouveau style. Inmal war (Once upon a time), 1891, a painting inspired by a fairy tale The frog prince.
He replaced it with a forgery and sold the original through German auction house Keterrer Kunst for €70,000 (£60,000). He stole three other paintings by German artists from the nineteenth century, two of which he was able to sell at public auction.
A museum spokesman said the painting was part of a collection whose provenance was being investigated when another member of staff noticed its unusual back: “This quickly led to the realization that the painting… was not the original, but a fake.” The thief was given a 21-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to repay more than 60,000 euros.
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