She wrote about falsies

Written in an approachable and amenable style, however not only aimed at the layman, but also  a recommended reading for non-specialists, art historians, curators and scientists alike, Jehane Ragai’s new book, “The Scientist and the Forger” released by Imperial College Press and World Science Publishers, takes the reader down the fascinating and ever more turbulent journey of forgery detection and art authentication.


Scientist and the Forger-RagaiIncluded in the book is a multitude of captivating stories including that of the forged Chagall painting ultimately ending in a French furnace, the 32 acclaimed inauthentic Jackson Pollocks found in an attic and the Russian avant garde expert accused of fraud. Not even the shrewdest of forgeries, it demonstrates, can withstand scrutiny by cutting-edge scientific tools all intelligibly presented in the book.

Dealing with cases as recent as 2014/2015, the book provides a gripping portrayal of the complexity of challenges faced by the art world today: unscrupulous so-called forensic scientists, dealers and agents who, keen to live by sales in the art market are sometimes willing participants in fraud, claims of art fraud being met with legal libel, and forgers who once tracked down, are given astonishingly light sentences followed by celebrity upon release.

The book also provides fresh insights into the psychology of the forger and the viewer and provides a novel analysis of the role of courts operating under the dictates of the common law system in authentication matters, with the eventual questioning of such a practice.

“The Scientist and the Forger” concludes by discussing the pressing problems faced by the art world today, stressing the importance of using appropriate tools for a valid verdict on authenticity.


Jehane RagaiAuthor Ragai is an Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at the American University in Cairo, has worked on the study of the Giza Sphinx and was a four-time judge for the L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science award. For more information, contact Jehane at: Email:  or give her a jingle at: Mobile: 078.234.05512.



Published by on November 2015. Filed under PaletteBoards Section, Reviews - Books, Two Sisters Bookmart. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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