Joseph V. Noble: Expert in Antiquities, Dies at 87

Historians in the News

Joseph V. Noble, a former director of the Museum of the City of New York who earlier exposed three famous works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as fakes, died last Saturday in West Orange, N.J. He was 87.

The cause was heart failure, according to the Jacob A. Holle Funeral Home in Maplewood, N.J.

In 1967, Mr. Noble, then an administrator at the Metropolitan Museum with a fervent interest in antiquities, discovered that three large, supposedly ancient terra-cotta Etruscan warriors were forgeries.

In a 1970 article in The New York Times, Mr. Noble explained how he made the discovery: “One day I walked around to the derrière of one of the warriors and took a penknife and, yes, took off a piece about the size of a pin.”

With analysis and testing, Mr. Noble recognized a substance in the glaze as a chemical that first came into use in the 19th century. He determined that the sculptures, which were thought to be about 2,500 years old at the time, had actually been forged in Italy between 1914 and 1918.
Read entire article at NYT

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