Did Freud reject the attribution of ‘The Man in the Black Cravat’?

Celebrated artist Lucian Freud is thought to have denied painting what might be one of his first ever works because of a bitter feud with a rival artist, a BBC investigation suggests.

On Sunday night’s episode of Fake or Fortune?, art detectives will explore the possibility that Freud rejected the attribution of ‘The Man in the Black Cravat’ to prevent one of his greatest enemies from earning a fortune from its sale. For decades, artist Denis Wirth-Miller attempted to sell the portrait without success. At first, auction houses and experts considered it to be a genuine work possibly painted in 1939 while Freud was at art school. However, they changed their mind soon after speaking with Freud. Were it not for Freud’s interference, it is believed the painting could have sold for as much as £500,000. Continue reading