╘ Black Lacquers Co- operative, Russia, 1999
How to try to distinguish fakes.
Take care of fakes! Fakes problem √ is for sure the biggest and most serious problem of nowadays on the market of Russian lacquered boxes. They are absolutely everywhere √ in the many galleries and gift shops all over the world, in many Internet (specially American) sites, in a lot of tourist places of Moscow and so on. For those who see it for the first time it is not easy at all to distinguish a genuine Palekh work from fake. It needs a trained eye. Surely not everybody has one. Collectors, especially Western ones, all too often go by the inscription (or signature) and the trademark. The trouble is that it is not very difficult with a painter just with basic education to fake both signature and trademark. As a piece of advice for beginners, a genuine Palekh piece must have at least two distinctive features. First, the gold touchup lines (probeli), lines emphasizing the volume of the objects in the painting. A painter must have high skill to apply gold touchup lines properly; not all Palekh masters can do it. On a fake painting the gold lines are haphazard. Some fakers try to ornate the painting with lines bearing no construction sense, with the result that the ornament looks quite incongruous. Another thing, which may give a faker away, is his inability to use the technique of multi-layer brushwork (plavi). The technique is needed so sophisticated that painters who graduated from the Palekh art school take many years to master it. Unfortunately, an innocent buyer may not see the difference between real multi-layer brushwork and primitive colouring.
Here we are not talking about other more sophisticated attributes, which differ original box from fake. But we can mention them: a special technique in painting the naked places of people body (legs, arms, faces), special proportions of figures, special rules of painting mounts, trees, other floral objects. Every professional expert knows nearly each painter in Palekh and knows the unrepeatable style of all their works - so he can see the masterpiece and compare the signature of the painter with the style of current work and if it is certain difference - he tell for sure - This is fake! After having some experience of collecting and looking at the real ones, if you have a good eye for the beauty √ you▓ll got it yourself, before that - trust the respectful sources not the street vendors.