In the course of a discussion of Steve Jobs and Norman Foster that does not interest me (but may interest the architecturally inclined among my readers), David Galbraith includes an anecdote that does:
Its a flaw of human nature to assume that revered individuals are authors of everything they touch. When historians argue over whether a Rembrandt is authentic, they miss the point, no Rembrandt was truly authentic, they were painted by a team that included Rembrandt himself to a greater or lesser degree, to maintain the house style. And there is one great anecdote that nails this myth of authorship – the famous Walt Disney signature. Walt Disney had really bad handwriting and someone else in the office created the recognizable version. When stills from Snow White were auctioned those that bore his actual signature fetched less than those with the iconic one. True authorship is a myth and this applies to Jobs.
While (being an unrepentant prepostmodernist) I dislike the simplistic conclusion (it’s silly to try to define too closely who is a true Scotsman, therefore there is no such thing as a Scotsman), I am intrigued by the anecdote and wonder if anyone knows the truth of it: was there an auction with that perverse result? (I realize the mentality that sneers at the very idea of authenticity is also likely to sneer at the very idea of “the truth of it”; so be it.)