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Moments of ValuationExploring Sites of Dissonance$
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Ariane Berthoin Antal, Michael Hutter, and David Stark

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702504

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702504.001.0001

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Evaluating Valuation

Evaluating Valuation

Connoisseurship, Technology, and Art Attribution in an American Court of Law

(p.89) 5 Evaluating Valuation
Moments of Valuation

John Brewer

Oxford University Press

The case of Hahn versus Duveen, tried in New York in 1929, hinged on the attribution of a painting supposedly by Leonardo Da Vinci. Was attribution, as the art dealer Duveen claimed, primarily a question of experts’ intuitive judgment, or should it be established, as Hahn’s lawyers asserted, by empirically verifiable scientific methods? In adjudicating the conflict between these two very different regimes of truth, both the court and the jury rejected intuitive judgment and therefore the testimony of some of the most important experts in the Old Master art market. The evaluators were evaluated and found wanting. The outcome was site specific—it pointed to the weakness of intuitive art expertise as legal evidence—but in the long run it helped shape a closer co-operation between those with the experienced eye and experts in the scientific properties of pictures.

Keywords:   expertise, connoisseurship, art expertise, art market, intuition, art world, Old Masters, art science, Joseph Duveen

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