A trial is underway in Manhattan that is rocking the contemporary art world. The chairman of Sotheby’s is suing a gallery for selling him a fake Mark Rothko. Domenico De Sole reportedly paid more than $8 million for the painting, which he believed was the work of the abstract expressionist master, known for his use of bold colors and shapes.
Assistant Professor of Digital and Computational Studies and Computer Science Mohammad Irfan knows how to look for art forgeries; one of his specialities is the authentication of works of art using computer analysis techniques:
“The Rothko trial is a fascinating story,” says Irfan.
“Forgery is so common that I was not surprised when I first heard about it. But once I learned that it duped the chairman of Sotheby’s, I was intrigued. And I’m pretty sure many of our students would be intrigued to see the piece and think about critical questions like: What makes the fake Rothko look like a real Rothko? How would one go about authenticating a Rothko painting? I personally hope the fake Rothko comes to our Museum of Art someday!”