People, there is a FASCINATING article in this week's New Yorker that deals with the process of authenticating artwork (you know, someone finds a drip painting at a garage sale that turns out to be a Jackson Pollock worth 1.8 million).
Art authentication is at best an inexact science, and the article focuses on Peter Paul Biro, a former art restorer who claims to have invented a method of identifying the fingerprints that artists leave on their work (thereby confirming that a drawing was actually touched by Leonardo Da Vinci, as opposed to a forger in a basement in Queens).
Except, SPOILER ALERT, Peter Paul Biro may actually be a fraud and con man who preys on the hopes of people who are convinced they have an undiscovered masterpeice on their hands.
I don't want to give away too much, but you should READ IT, even though it is super long. It's totally worth it, I was riveted. People would try to talk to me, and I would just put up the "I'm reading" hand. It was pretty rude, actually.
Read it quick before they put it behind a pay wall!
The Mark of a Masterpiece by David Grann
(image from The New Yorker article, by Steve Pyke).