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Ole Miss helping to authenticate collages

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Updated: 5/13/2013 7:55 pm
OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) -- Imagine if you had the task to handle and inspect something that's worth millions of dollars.

That is taking place at Ole Miss by students and faculty. 

They are examining two collages to see if they are authentic works of art by Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris.

If they are authentic collages, the estimated value is between $20-$30 million. 

"Their value is that they seem to establish a connection between anarchism and early cubism in 1916. I think it help shaped our understanding of the evolution of modern art," said Associate Professor of English Gregory Heyworth.

The project involves a certain process to see if there is a connection.

"What they're trying to do is tie these two collages together first. From there only one would need to be authenticated to prove that they were both authentic," explained student Caleb Ezell.

The students say it is a learning experience you don't see everyday in the classroom.

"It's been an experience I never would of thought I would of had coming coming here to Ole Miss. It's really made my freshman year totaly different and my life in general. It's  changed how I think about the world," said student Lizzy Wicks.

"It's valuable in of itself even if we're not dealing with an authentic Picasso. Just the experience has been really instructive for me and I hope to utilize these skills later," student Eleanor Anthony stated.

This rigorous work requires certain tools of the trade. 

"The sampling has to be done in a way that you don't harm the objects themselves. We're going to do some evasive sampling that requires taking tiny tiny samples using tungsten needles and micro scalpels," Heyworth added.

Students and faculty will learn in about four months if the works are authentic. 

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