June 15, 2011 Ms. Robin Cembalest , Exec. Editor – Art News – 48 W. 38th St. – New York, NY 10018
Dear Ms. Cembalest: Thank you for the courtesy of returning my telephone call today! My letter is in response to the article published in Art News “Protecting Goncharova’s Legacy.”
My two main objections are that you publish unsubstantiated allegations and that you impugn the integrity of two highly regarded international Goncharova experts, Professor Anthony Parton and Mme Denise Bazetoux. How can anyone consider a painting fake without having seen it in person and without a scientific analysis? In your eagerness to create a sensational story you cite Peter Aven who is not an art historian. You also mention Irina Lebedeva, the Director of the Tretyakov Gallery; what are her qualifications to question pictures by Goncharova? You also mention certain Russian government officials and a Russian publisher, none of whom has a scholarly record on Goncharova.
Peter Aven’s allegation that a criminal group was flooding the market with fake pictures is absolutely preposterous. There is not one scintilla of evidence for this! Your article also referred to an article published in the summer of 2009 where you defamed a highly regarded scientist like Dr. E. Jaegers for authenticating paintings. Again this was absolutely untrue. It was my impression that journalists are supposed to dig out the facts and check references! Sylvia Hochfield’s article is sadly lacking in these respects. Her article is an example of sensationalism at its worst without any regard for the reputatioin of respected scholars.
Robert E. Hiedemann, Ph.D