Scandal Takes Art World By Storm

Posted by Michael Rodriguez on November 5, 2016 in Blogging |

Sothebys has now been forced to admit that they are in the middle of a multimillion-dollar scandal, involving what may be tens of millions of dollars worth of bogus Old Master paintings.”>

This week, which was the opening of the Frieze art fair in London, was hardly the typical week for what could be the biggest forgery story since the World War II-era Vermeer scandal to break.

Just as Regents Park was certainly populating with many hundreds of galleries, thousands and thousands of artists, as well as tens of thousands of both amateur and professional buyers, Sothebys, one of the two larger and older firms of the global art world. It is a vital presence at Frieze and has now been forced into an embarrassing admission that it is in the middle of a multimillion-pound forgery scandal, involving what may be tens of millions of dollars worth of fake Old Master paintings.

Specifically, a painting authenticated by Sothebys as the work of Dutch artist Frans Hals and sold on that basis for almost $10 million has now been reassessed by the auction house and declared a fake.

Sothebys released a statement saying that a new technical analysis had revealed that the work was a forgery. The sale which was then reversed and the client believed to be an American collector based in Seattle was reimbursed, Sothebys said.

The gallery was tricked. Even worse, however, is now the authenticity of up to $200 million-worth of other Old Masters which appeared across European galleries from the same sources little known French collectors under uncertainty.

The analysis was then carried out in the wake of a very controversial police sting in March this year, when a  1531 work, Venus With A Veil, collected by the Prince of Liechtenstein, and was seized by French police officers from a public gallery.

French law actually allows for the very seizure of works that are suspected to be forgeries for investigation without judgment, but the prince, one of the most important collectors in the entire world, was quite furious at the public way the picture was grabbed.

The final results of this analysis haven’t been made public. However, it is now¬†believed in the art world that the picture has been found to be a fake.


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