Bernard Ewell, author, "Artful Dodgers: Fraud & Foolishness in the Art Market"

Air Dates: September 24-26, 2022


Veteran Fine Arts Appraiser / Art Detective.  Recognized Expert on Artist Salvador Dali.  Author: “Artful Dodgers: Fraud & Foolishness In The Art Market"

“People are amazed to hear that art crime is the fourth largest crime in dollar value in the country, because nobody knows anything about it, nobody hears anything about it.” -- Bernard Ewell

Sept. 22, 2022 -- This week’s guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Bernard Ewell, veteran appraiser of Fine Arts, art detective, THE recognized expert on artist Salvador Dali, and author of "Artful Dodgers: Fraud & Foolishness in the Art Market." This fascinating interview explores the myths that drive the art market and offers a pathway for education for collectors.

In his book, Ewell offers an introduction to connoisseurship for collectors. There is a huge gap in the art market – there is no training for collectors, and dealers rarely educate. So where do people go who want to know more about art?

“Artful Dodgers…” is one of the first books that really takes the reader through the art market -- the world's most unregulated market, which doesn't even follow the rules of economics. Ewell explores the myths about the art market, among them: art has value, art values always go up, art is a good investment, and when an artist dies, the value of his/her work goes up.

As Ewell explains, “The art market is where the intent to deceive meets contributory negligence and willful ignorance, and most of those who have been defrauded don’t even know it.”

In response to the question, “What does give art its value?” Ewell answers “Perception. It's only because people think art has value. You know, most people think that art has value because it was owned by princes and popes and traded back and forth...The trouble is that, especially in the contemporary art market, they are led to extraordinary lengths by people who are just manipulating, just playing the buyers, just playing the media and you don't know what something is really worth until it resells. And today I feel quite confident in saying 98% of contemporary art will never again sell for as much as it did the first time, probably from a dealer.”

In terms of money value, art crime is among the four largest crimes in America after cybercrime, drugs, firearms, in terms of money values, the amount of money being made illegally in art fraud and fakes.