Scam century: fakes under the Old Masters upset the world of art automatic translate
AMSTERDAM. This picture convinced experts in the Louvre. The main French officials from the culture declared it a national treasure. Dutch curators at Mauritshuis and Rijksmuseum no doubt joined the chorus of scientists who decided that the mysterious portrait of a man dressed in black was a previously unknown masterpiece by Frans Hals. Many found the Portrait of a Man not only a rare find, but also a truly great example of the work of the Old Masters.
In 2011, the auction house Sotheby’s in New York sold the painting to a private collector for $ 10 million. However, this month the same Sotheby’s house declared the job a modern forgery. The portrait was involved in a scandal that flared up in March, when the French police arrested a picture attributed to Lucas Cranach the Elder (Lucas Cranach the Elder). This picture came to the market through the same collector as the fake Huls. The auction house sent «Khalsa» for technical expertise, where experts found in the paint traces of materials produced in the twentieth century, which meant that the picture could not be written in the XVII century. Sotheby’s canceled the deal and refunded the buyer all costs.
If experts at Sotheby’s were right, the question of who could make such a forgery remains a mystery. According to information from representatives of the auction house, the investigation continues, but details of it were not disclosed. The French authorities are silent too. But regardless of who is the author of this magnificent adventure, it remains absolutely incomprehensible how the fake could deceive such a number of leading experts from the best museums in the world. These circumstances clearly demonstrate the extent to which the process of authenticating art objects is actually complex and subjective.
The picture «held» many, but not all. Martin Bale, an outstanding restorer of the Old Masters paintings, worked on the restoration of thirty paintings by Huls during the last seven years. When he saw the results of the last analysis of the picture, commissioned by Sotheby’s experts Orion Analytical, he said that he had previously suspected that the picture was a forgery: «Those who examined the picture are good specialists, but they do not know in detail with the hand of Frans Hals. And this is another reason to be cautious, «he said.
The most exciting question today: are there other fakes spread by the same source? At the moment, several paintings are considered «new discoveries», and all of them came through the hands of the same collector. These works include David the Contemplating the Head of Goliath, attributed to David Contemplating the Head of Goliath, Orazio Gentileschi, and a portrait of Saint Jerome, attributed to the follower of the Italian artist of the 16th century, Parmigianino (Saint Jerome, Parmigianino), who the same auction house Sotheby’s sold in 2012 for 842 500 dollars. This picture has already been withdrawn and also sent for additional research. We wrote about both cases a little earlier:
Discovered 4 years ago the picture of Gentileski can be a modern fake
«St. Jerome» Parmigianino - a fake? Investigation of the scandal surrounding the falsification of paintings continues
«Scandals grow like mushrooms after the rain,» said Bob Haboldt, an art dealer specializing in the Old Masters of Holland. Some other art dealers tend to play down the threat. A reputable London dealer, Johnny van Haeften, said: «I think these are isolated cases, the tragedy does not have the same scale as many people tend to think.»
Nevertheless, the question remains open. How could the forgery pass the checks? Huls’s new works appear very rarely, and nothing was known about this picture at all. She is not mentioned in any scientific work on the artist’s work and has never escaped anywhere in the 350 years since his death. These facts were to alert the experts and cause a thorough study of the canvas.
Martin Bijl, the former chief restorer of the Rijksmuseum, said he could not recall any unknown work by Huls, discovered at least in the past 25 years. Bail thinks he should have told him about his suspicions, but he was stopped by the fact that this is not the first time that scientists have discovered the history of the picture after the picture itself is found.
The origins of the current history should be sought in 2008, when collector Giuliano Ruffini asked the experts at Christie’s house in Paris to look at the picture that he, he said, had bought from a Spanish art dealer.
According to Philippe Scarzella, lawyer Ruffini, he told art experts that the work «may belong to the followers of Khals or Khalsu himself.» Specialists of the auction house after inspecting the paintings said that it is very similar to the original.
Christie’s have issued a license to export the paintings in order to study it more thoroughly in London. Such licenses must necessarily be authorized in the Louvre and the French Ministry of Culture. But instead of allowing to take out a picture from France, officials declared it a national treasure and issued a temporary export restriction. In the same month, the Louvre decided to try to buy a canvas. The contract was drawn up in October 2008 and sent to the lawyer Ruffini. The contract provided that the Louvre buys «Portrait of a Man» Frans Hals for 5 million euros through the intermediation of the auction house Christie’s.
Blaise Ducos, the chief curator of the department of Dutch and Flemish painting in the Louvre, was invited to inspect the painting. To establish the authenticity of the research center for restoration, the portrait was examined using X-ray, infrared and ultraviolet radiation. Analysis of coloring pigments was not carried out. The Louvre also invited other prominent scientists to consult, such as Quentin Buvelot, a senior curator of the Mauritshuis in The Hague.
«Several well-known art historians have already seen this picture and expressed their enthusiasm for its authenticity,» Buvlot wrote in an e-mail to The New York Times. «This work was done with such grace and skill that many experts believe it was written by the master himself,» he added.
After the purchase contract was drawn up, Belinda Bowring, Christie’s spokeswoman, expressed doubts about the origin and attribution of the picture. She refused to discuss specific details, but the auction house asked Ruffini to guarantee the authenticity of the work. In response, the seller sent a letter in which he «in no way bears responsibility for the attribution and authenticity of the work,» which, he noted, had already been in the hands of experts. «My client is not going to guarantee anything, it’s not his job,» said lawyer Skarzella.
At the same time, Dukos invited a number of well-known Dutch and French entrepreneurs, as well as several experts on Hals’s creativity to look at the painting privately. Haboldt attended one such meeting that took place at the residence of the Netherlands ambassador in Paris. «I did not doubt at that time,» said Haboldt. - «Of course, I did not look at it with the eyes of the buyer. The picture has already been tested in the Louvre. I looked at it and congratulated the buyer, but I did not try to analyze it from the point of view of a possible forgery. «
In the end, the Louvre refused to buy the painting, but it is unclear why. Haboldt called the reason that the museum could not collect the right amount. The official statement of the museum says that after all the procedures conducted, taking into account the whole context of the situation, the Louvre does not intend to purchase a canvas.
The absence of any information about the picture did not alert Buvlot and Dukos, who co-wrote large material on the painting and published it in Burlington Magazine in 2014. «It’s not such a rarity, when the Old Masters’ paintings are not listed in the existing literature,» they said. - «We should not forget that the first serious catalogs appeared only in the XIX century.»
After a temporary export ban was lifted in 2010, an art dealer from London, Mark Weiss, acquired the Portrait of a Man from Ruffini, reportedly for $ 3 million. In a statement he made by e-mail to The New York Times, Weiss said that he was confident in the authenticity of the canvas, as many authors have confirmed this authenticity. «The only voice against belonged to the creative specialist Hals Klaus Grimm (Claus Grimm), who believed that the painting was written by Huls’s son, Peter.»
The following year, the painting was sold through the house of Sotheby’s for $ 10 million to private collector Richard Hedreen (Richard Hedreen) from Seattle. Herdin refused to comment on the situation, but Sotheby’s spokesman Lauren Gioia said: «We could not confirm the authenticity of the picture, because we were not involved in the process of its study. Obviously, we did not know that it was a fake. «
Everything was fine until March of this year, until the French police arrested the «Venus with a Veil», owned by the prince of Liechtenstein right on the show in Aix-en-Provence. The event caused a stir in the art community: the picture was associated with the collection of Ruffini. After that, Sotheby’s experts wanted to take another look at the picture, since the very fact of its detection was compromised. Hedrin sent them a picture, and for the case took the experts Orion Analytical. The result is known.
But even after that, Weiss still doubted. He encouraged the possibility of conducting an acquittal, which he justified by the enormous influence that the fact of establishing a fake for the art market and the history of art could have.
Meanwhile, the French police conducted a search in the mansion of Ruffini near Parma, in Italy. During the search, two more pictures were found: the carnival scene, which may be written by Pieter Brueghel the Elder and the head of Christ, previously attributed to Andrea Solario. Ruffini himself no charges have yet been brought. «The French police hope to find a secret workshop where all these fakes were made, but so far they have found nothing,» Scarzella told The New York Times. Moreover, Ruffini’s lawyer appeals to the fact that his principal was not aware of the counterfeits, on the contrary, he entrusted the experts to establish the authenticity of his paintings, and as a result, does not bear any responsibility for everything that happened after that.
- Three defendants were identified in the case of selling fake works of art worth $ 33 million
- Eine Fälschung aus der Sammlung von Reichsmarschall Göring
- Das Gemälde gilt als Fälschung und wird Lucas dem Älteren zugeschrieben
- El retrato de Miguel Ángel, expuesto en la Galería Nacional de Londres, puede ser falso
- Las autoridades austriacas detuvieron a seis comerciantes en un intento de vender pinturas falsas de Picasso
- "St. Jerome" Parmigianino - a fake? Investigation of the scandal surrounding the falsification of paintings continues
- Discovered 4 years ago the picture of Gentileski can be a modern fake
- Jonathan Jones: Caravaggio, found in the attic - a fake