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Expert calls disputed Pollock paintings authentic

Written by: Staff

BOSTON, Feb 24 (Reuters) An expert in the work of abstract artist Jackson Pollock said 32 previously unknown paintings appear to be authentic, taking issue with a recent computer analysis suggesting they are fakes.

''If evidence does turn out to indicate that Pollock did not paint these works after all, I would be inclined to judge them the most amazing fakes in modern art history,'' Ellen Landau, a professor of art history at the Cleveland Museum of Art/Case Western University, told a conference yesterday in Boston.

Alex Matter, a filmmaker who knew Pollock from childhood, said in May he had found the paintings four years ago among the possessions of his late parents, who knew Pollock. He began showing them publicly after Landau authenticated them last year.

Matter has said the paintings had been first stored in a Manhattan boiler room and then for nearly three decades in a warehouse in East Hampton, Long Island, not far from where Pollock had his studio and was killed in car crash in 1956.

Using slides, Landau pointed out similarities between Pollock's paintings and abstract photographs taken by Matter's father, photographer Herbert Matter, who she said became close to Pollock by the late 1940's.

Landau said the 32 Pollock paintings might have been experimental to test new techniques.

Landau's conclusion was completely different from that reached by Professor Richard Taylor of the University of Oregon's Department of Physics, who had been hired to analyze the paintings by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, set up under the will of Pollock's widow, painter Lee Krasner.

Taylor did a computer analysis of six of the 32 paintings and concluded they were fakes. For the past decade, Taylor has analyzed the American artist's work using fractal analysis -- a technique that looks for geometric patterns that recur in the paintings despite the apparent chaos of Pollock's famed drip paintings.

Kerrie Buitrago, executive president of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, told Reuters in an e-mail that they do not yet have hard evidence that the paintings in question were experimental works as Landau has said.

''Historical evidence and stylistic analysis are essential, as well as scientific evidence such as fractal analysis and conservation reports,'' she said.


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