Since ancient times, people have perfectly learned to forge works of fine art. The fact is that thousands of years ago, lots of sacred objects, images, and even large sculptures were required for various rituals and worship of gods. That’s when the first fakes appeared, in particular, due to the fact that original pieces were not enough for all comers. Methods of creation, styles, materials – everything was counterfeited with such skill that even modern international experts and professional art collectors cannot understand whether one or the other fine art object is authentic or not, especially when it comes to paintings. So let’s look at several famous fine art pieces, the authenticity of which still remains in doubt.
Jackson Pollock’s painting bought almost for free
In 1992, a retired long-haul truck driver Teri Horton bought one of the famous Pollock’s drip paintings almost for free. Being unaware of the real value of this masterpiece, she purchased it from a thrift shop in California just for $5 as a gift for a friend. However, the painting appeared to be too large for the friend’s trailer, so Teri set it out at a home yard sale. Fortunately, the work was noticed by a local teacher of art who pointed to the similarity to Pollock’s painting technique. As a result, it was recognized as authentic, and today this famous piece of modern abstract art is estimated at about $50 million.
Caravaggio or not?
Another scandal erupted at the Sotheby’s auction house. Its international expert committee refused to recognize “The Cardsharps” as authentic Caravaggio. Back in 2006, the Sotheby’s evaluators attributed this work to one of the Old Master’s followers, and the auction house sold it for £42,000. However, Sir Denis Mahon, one of the most respected art collectors and historians, stated that it was painted by Caravaggio himself, and its real value was about £10 million. Upon hearing this news, the former owner of the painting Lancelot William Thwaytes immediately sued the auction house. For today, “The Cardsharps” is still the subject of international expert debate.
Another mysterious smile by Da Vinci
“La Bella Principessa” is a unique painting that until recently was considered the work of an unknown German painter of the XIX century. However, not so long ago, a famous fine art historian and international expert Martin Kemp announced that it was created by Leonardo Da Vinci. That was a real shock to the whole world of fine art and especially for Jeanne Marchig who sold this piece of presumably Da Vinci’s paintings for $19,000 in 1998. Today, the value of “La Bella Principessa” has increased in hundreds of times. Nevertheless, the possibility that it’s just a well-done fake is still discussed.
Rembrandt or his followers?
Everyone in the world of art knows that, despite his fame, Rembrandt led a fairly modest lifestyle, and after he had bought a huge house in one of the most prestigious districts of Amsterdam, the artist went bankrupt. Eventually, he had to move to the outskirts of the city, where he began teaching painting. For today, it’s rather difficult to determine which paintings belong to Rembrandt himself, and which – to his talented students. That is what happened to “The Polish Rider.” While this painting was officially recognized as original Rembrandt, not all international experts and fine art collectors agree with that.