Re: What Difference Does a Synthetic Dye Make?

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Posted by R. John Howe on June 25, 1999 at 07:18:26:

In Reply to: Re: Dating by eyeballing a dye posted by Sophia Gates on June 22, 1999 at 10:57:09:

Dear folks -

Sophia writes in part:

I'm beginning to wonder whether, in the long haul, it will really matter,100 years from now, if a piece is art, i.e., if it speaks, if it has that "je ne sais quoi" that raises it above the level of good craft, who will care whether it has a trace of Ponceau 2 or whatever? Truly sophisticated collectors are beginning not to care now! The problem is our evil friend, Mammon; and his cohort, Other People's Opinion. And what have they ever had to do with art?

My thought: I think Sophia is right here that we sometimes cut ourselves off unnecessarily from a piece that has a synthetic but that has some real merit. There is, though, one desire frequent among collectors, that the presence of a synthetic dye bars. If there is one, one cannot credibly say the sentence, "Likely before 1850."


R. John Howe

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