Stubbs’ painting mistaken as copy quadruples in value

A painting previously thought to be a copy of a work by celebrated English artist George Stubbs has skyrocketed in value after it was reattributed to the artist himself.

‘Two Hacks, the property of Henry Ulrick Reay Esq of Burn Hall Co. Durham and their blue-liveried groom in a landscape’ (1789) depicts a groom exercising a pair of horses. It sold for US$215,000 (£177,000) at Christie’s New York in June 2016 with the attribution “After George Stubbs”. The vendor, the Huntington Library in California, had once considered the painting to be a genuine work by Stubbs. Later, in what art historian and BBC Fake or Fortune? team member, Bendor Grosvenor, has called “one of the biggest deaccessioning blunders of modern times” the library decided it was a later copy of an authorised painting held in the Ambrose Clark collection in America and offered it for sale.  Continue reading

Sotheby’s take Weiss to court over fake Frans Hals

Sotheby’s have launched legal proceedings against London art dealer Mark Weiss and business partner Fairlight Art Ventures over the sale of a fake portrait by Frans Hals. The auction house stated that it had ‘been left with no other option’ after the sellers ‘refused to make good on their contractual obligations’ and repay the sale proceeds.

‘Portrait of a Gentleman’ is one of several disputed works at the centre of an art forgery scandal, which broke in October 2016. Weiss bought the portrait from collector Giuliano Ruffini for a reported US$3 million (£2.5 million) in 2010. He subsequently sold it to a US collector for approximately US$10 million (£8.4 million) in a private sale brokered by Sotheby’s in 2011.

Continue reading

Dealer in Knoedler forgery scandal escapes jail time

The Long Island art dealer who sold fake Abstract Expressionist art to New York’s Knoedler Gallery has been handed a get-out-of-jail-free card by a Manhattan judge.

Glafira Rosales was indicted by the US Government in May 2013 on charges of conspiracy, tax fraud and wire fraud from the sale of up to US$60 million (£42 million) worth of fake art to the former Knoedler Gallery. On Tuesday (31 January), District Judge Katherine Polk Failla sentenced Rosales to nine months of home detention as part of a three year supervised release for her involvement in the scheme.  Continue reading

Sotheby’s sue over fake Parmigianino

Sotheby’s has filed a lawsuit in New York against the vendor of a 16th century Old Master painting after it was confirmed to be a fake.

In October last year, the auction house announced it would be conducting an investigation into the painting of ‘Saint Jerome’. Attributed to the ‘Circle of Parmigianino’, it was sold by Sotheby’s New York in January 2012 for US$800,000 (£509,650). Doubts over the work’s authenticity emerged after it was linked to an Old Master forgery scandal, which broke last year.  Continue reading

Museum threatened with lawsuit over Van Gogh sketchbook

Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum is facing legal action after it dismissed a sketchbook allegedly belonging to the Dutch artist as a fake.

The discovery of the album of 65 drawings purported to be by Van Gogh was made in 2013 by art historian Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov who believes it was used by the artist on his travels in the south of France. When the drawings were unveiled at a press conference in Paris in November this year the Van Gogh Museum quickly released a statement entitled “Found Sketchbook With Drawings Is Not By Van Gogh, According to Van Gogh Museum”. Now Le Seuil, the publishing house behind Welsh-Ovcharov’s new book on the drawings “Vincent Van Gogh, the Fog of Arles: the Rediscovered Sketchbook”, has hit back at the museum by threatening to initiate a lawsuit. Continue reading

Sotheby’s declares war on art forgery

Sotheby’s auction house announced its acquisition of specialist art investigation firm Orion Analytical in a press release on Monday (5 December 2016).

Founded by James Martin in 2000, Orion Analytical began life as a niche firm offering materials analysis and consultancy. Over the years it has built a reputation for expertise in researching and investigating fake artworks. Now Sotheby’s is bringing this expertise in-house and has appointed Martin director of its newly created scientific research department. Continue reading

Forgery Scandal Update: Sotheby’s to investigate potential fake

In an update on the forgery scandal that has shocked the art world, Sotheby’s New York announced that it is investigating a painting attributed to 16th century Old Master Parmigianino as a potential fake.

The painting of Saint Jerome fetched over US$800,000 (£653,777) at auction at Sotheby’s New York in January 2008 when it was attributed to the ‘circle of Parmigianino’. When a private collector lent it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for exhibition in 2014, curators from the European painting department discussed the attribution with leading Parmigianino experts but could not agree on whether it was painted by the artist himself or those close to him. Continue reading

Counterfeit ticket ring found to be operating at Versailles

French police arrested five employees of the Château de Versailles on Sunday (9 October) for selling fake tickets to the historic site, The Art Newspaper reports.

The employees, aged 21 to 34, were charged with fraud and taken into police custody. Four admitted to selling fake tickets and were indicted on 11 October. A fifth man, the suspected ringleader, has denied responsibility and remains in jail. Continue reading