AND WHAT MY FATHER USED TO SAY…

The BBC’s documentary Fake or Fortune was another telling case of the worst side of Culture, not this time in publishing, but in the Art world. Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce took up the case of a reputed Monet, which for years the owner has been trying to prove is authentic. In the end the evidence was almost incontrovertible, backed by several international experts, yet when represented to the all important Wildenstein Institute it was rejected almost out of hand, because, it was claimed, Wildenstein’s father had seen the painting and dismissed it as a Monet, so there could be no argument. As the ironic poem has it ‘and what my father used to say, and what my father used to say, and what my father used to say, is good enough for me!‘ As if anyone was infallible, except naturally The Pope, the shock of it is that even in the face of such clear and public evidence, the ‘powers that be’ seem to hold the field, without any embarrassment, underlying it seems to us it is not about truth, nor the deeper spirit of art, but the Establishment, which in their day the greats were usually at war with, and most clearly dominance, power and money. We wonder how the fight can go on, because it certainly should do, and the BBC should back it. Philip Mould, always a deeply sensitive commentator, was quite right to confess his shame at that side of the business, and Phoenix Ark wonder where the real commentators are, although books and stories are far more personally judged, and where the scandal-exposers are too on what is continuing to happen in modern book publishing as well. Oh yes, at Phoenix Ark Press, we hope.

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