Critics say they have developed a reliable way to detect counterfeit works of art: they have learned to recognize paintings created before 1945 by radioactive fallout.
The first nuclear tests were conducted in the United States July 16, 1945, the year after two weeks uranium bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and has since risen to the sky more than two thousand nuclear warheads. As a result, the Earth's biosphere is contaminated with two radioactive elements - cesium-137 and strontium-90, their danger lies in the fact that they are actively sorbed by the soil and accumulate in freshwater algae and land plants, including those in flax. Natural linseed oil is used as a binder in paints, so radiocaesium and strontium-90 fell on the paintings, written after 1945.
The idea to identify a fake manner occurred to Elena Basner, when she worked as the curator of the exhibition of art of the twentieth century in the St. Petersburg Russian Museum. In addition, Elena is a consultant for the Swedish auction house «Bukowskis», and, in her words, to distinguish genuine product from counterfeit is very difficult, because the fraudsters are constantly improving their skills and technology. That is what prompted the Basner to search a new method of analysis of works of art, with the result that she became acquainted with Andrei Krusanov - chemist and part-time fan of avant-garde painting. Andrew teamed with several more scientists came up to examine the presence or absence of radioactive residues in the paint, because the cesium-137 and strontium-90 is not found in nature and therefore could not get on the web, started in the first half of the twentieth century. Therefore Basner hopes that can now be easily distinguished paintings by Russian avant-garde 1900-1930-ies from their imitations, but other critics do not share her optimism because fraudsters to create counterfeit can use the old paint and canvas.