Tags: sothebys | forgery | frans hals | painting

Sotheby's Forgery: Frans Hals Painting a $10.6 Million Fake

Image: Sotheby's Forgery: Frans Hals Painting a $10.6 Million Fake

'An Unknown Man,' which was thought to be painted by old master Frans Hal when it sold for more than $10 million at Sotheby's, was proven to be a fake. (The Weiss Gallery)

By    |   Friday, 07 Oct 2016 08:56 AM

A Sotheby's forgery was unmasked recently when a Frans Hals painting that sold for more than $10 million five years ago was proven to be a fake.

The auction house said in a statement Thursday that it learned of concerns about the authenticity involving an old master painting it believed was produced by 17th century Dutch painter Frans Hals, Bloomberg reported.

After a technical and forensic analysis of the painting, it was determined that modern material was used to create the work, Bloomberg noted.

"Unfortunately, this established that the work was undoubtedly a forgery," Sotheby's said, according to Bloomberg. "We rescinded the sale and reimbursed the client in full. Clients transact with us because they know Sotheby's will keep its promises when problems arise, and we were very pleased to do that in this case."

The painting was once owned by French resident Giulano Rufini, who also owned other paintings that are now under investigation, The Art newspaper reported. The Art stated that a 1531 "Venus with a Veil" attributed to Lucas Cranach, was seized during a French exhibition in March.

A third piece of work, a painting of St Jerome said to be by the circle of Parmigianino that was sold for $842,500 at Sotheby's in 2012, is also being investigated, The Art reported. The publication stated that Ruffini denied any wrongdoing in April, claiming he's a "collector, not an expert."

"Ruffini added that he was lucky enough to find paintings that could have been done by Jan or Pieter Brueghel, Van Dyck, Correggio, Bronzino, Parmigianino, Solario, Van Bassen, Grimmer, Coorte and others," wrote Vincent Nose, of The Art newspaper.

"They were all put on sale. Indeed, several were then authenticated as works by these artists and some were even exhibited in museums around the world. But Ruffini insists he never presented a single painting as the real thing."

Art historian Bendor Grosvenor told the BBC Radio 4's "World at One" that if all the paintings are proven frauds, it could be considered the "best faker of all time."

"What is amazing about (the painting) is the quality and the fact that it's not a copy," Grosvenor told Radio 4. "Whoever has subsumed the aura of Hals when he painted this also came up with a totally fresh composition. If these (paintings) are fake, and I believe they are very likely to be, we are dealing with the best faker of all time."

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A Sotheby's forgery was unmasked recently when a Frans Hals painting that sold for more than $10 million five years ago was proven to be a fake.
sothebys, forgery, frans hals, painting
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2016-56-07
Friday, 07 Oct 2016 08:56 AM
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