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 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

Art forgery scandal sending shockwaves through the art world

The discovery of an art forgery scandal to rival the infamous Knoedler ring of fake masterpieces is sending shockwaves through the art world.

In what is being described as “the biggest art scandal in a century” collectors are understood to have paid as much as £200 million for fake paintings believing them to be genuine masterpieces. According to a French investigation, up to 25 forgeries of Old Masters may be in circulation including copies of works by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Frans Hals, Orazio Gentileschi and others. Continue reading