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Old 07-04-2007, 02:18 PM
gwarseneau gwarseneau is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Fernandina Bch
Posts: 3
Re: Are Degas' sculptures real or reproductions?


June 26, 2007

George S. Bolge
Boca Raton Museum of Art
501 Plaza Real
Boca Raton, Florida 33432*

Note: Footnotes are enclosed with { }.

Dear Director:

The Boca Raton Museum of Art’s upcoming January 23 - April 13, 2008 Degas in Bronze, The Complete Sculptures “special exhibition” is a “knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment”{1} which one legal definition of -FRAUD-.

The “concealment of a material fact”{2} is that all the objects in this so-called Degas in Bronze, The Complete Sculptures “special exhibition” are actually second to third-generation-removed reproductions which makes them “something that is not what it purports to be”{3} which is one legal definition of -FAKE-.

The “his or her detriment”{4} is the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s “special exhibitions” admission fees of “$20 for adults, $17 for seniors, $15 for groups (15 or more) and $6 for students”{5} not including city-state-federal grants{6}, corporate sponsorship and gift shop sales.

In otherwords, the public is not being fully informed that they will be paying to see an exhibit of non-disclosed -FAKES- that Edgar Degas has never seen himself, much less would have approved{7}.

These allegations are confirmed on the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s own published “SeasonPreviewPR.pdf” file, posted on the museum’s website. In part, it states: “Degas in Bronze offers an extremely rare opportunity to view 74 sculptures, posthumously cast in bronze from Degas' original composite and wax models.”{8}

The problem with this “extremely rare opportunity to view 74 {Edgar Degas} sculptures”{9} is that it conflicts with the museum’s admission they are “posthumous.”{10}. Fortunately, by definition{11}, rule of law{12} and laws of nature, dead men don’t sculpt.

This factual perspective is confirmed by the Association of Art Museum Directors endorsed ethical guidelines on sculptural reproductions. In part, these ethical guidelines state: “All bronze casting from finished bronzes, all unauthorized enlargements, and all transfers into new materials, unless specifically condoned by the artist, all works cast as a result of being in the public domain should be considered as inauthentic or counterfeit. Unauthorized casts of works in the public domain cannot be looked upon as accurate presentations of the artist’s achievement. Accordingly, in the absence of relevant laws and for moral reasons, such works should: -- Not be acquired by museums or exhibited as works of art.”{13}

Finally, you wouldn’t even find objects of this stature in a museum gift shop because on page 31 of the AAMD’s published 2001 Professional Practices in Art Museums, under the subtitle “Appendix D, Reproductions of Works of Arts,” it states: “signatures, edition numbers, and/or foundry marks on sculpture must not appear on the reproductions.”{14} All of the non-disclosed -FAKES- in this upcoming exhibition have counterfeit “Degas” signatures, edition letters and foundry marks posthumously applied.

In closing, I have enclosed below, for you and your colleagues’ documentation, an attached PDF copy of my 2006 DEGAS BRONZE FAKES News Release.

Any comment or questions on the enclosed, please contact me.

I look forward to your reply.


Gary Arseneau
artist, printmaker of original stone lithographs, gallery owner, scholar & author
P.O. Box 686
Fernandina Beach, Florida 32035
(904) 321-0021

1. Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, page 670, ISBN 0-314-22864-0

2. Ibid

3. Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, page 617, ISBN 0-314-22864-0

4. Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, page 670, ISBN 0-314-22864-0

5. SeasonPreviewPR.pdf page 5,

6. “Earlier this month, Borrow, joined by other museum leaders, made a presentation to the city's Community Redevelopment Agency asking for the funds, plus $150,000 to support two of its marquee exhibits next season, "Degas in Bronze: The Complete Sculptures," and "Tiffany Studios: The Holtzman Collection," an exhibit of glassworks by the famous maker.” Boca Raton Museum of Art asks city for funds, but timing is not on its side article By South Florida Sun-Sentinel Ivette M. Yee,

7. In the National Gallery of Art’s published 1998 Degas at the Races catalogue, on page 180 in Daphne S. Barbour’s and Shelly G. Strum’s “The Horse in Wax and Bronze” essay, these authors write: “Degas never cast his sculpture in bronze, claiming that it was a “tremendous responsibility to leave anything behind in bronze -- the medium is for eternity.” © 1998 National Gallery of Art ISBN 0-300-07517-0

8. SeasonPreviewPR.pdf page 3,

9. Ibid

10. Ibid

11. On page 372 in Ralph Mayer’s HarperCollins Dictionary of Art Terms & Techniques, the term “sculpture” is defined as: “The creation of three dimensional forms by carving, modeling or assembly. In carving, the sculptor removes unwanted material.... In modeling on the other hand, the sculptor creates a form by building it up...”

12. Under U.S. Copyright Law 101. Definitions, a “work of visual art” ie. “sculpture” is defined as: “multiple cast, carved, or fabricated sculptures of 200 or fewer that are consecutively numbered by the author and bear the signature or other identifying mark of the author.”

13. “A Statement on Standards for Sculptural Reproduction and Preventive Measures to Combat Unethical Casting in Bronze Approved by the CAA Board of Directors, April 27, 1974. Endorsed by the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Art Dealers Association of America.”

14. Published in 2001 by the Association of Art Museum Directors, 41 East 65th Street, New York 10021 ISBN 1-880974-02-9
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