In recent art world news, a painting recently sold by Sotheby’s for £8.4 million ($10.6 million) has been determined a fake causing concern that more high value forgeries exist in the art market. In 2011, an anonymous buyer from the United States purchased the painting by Dutch artist Frans Hals. Sotheby’s took back the painting after it was discovered by the auction house that the work was connected to another alleged fake.
The scandal dates back to this past March when French officials seized a 1531 painting entitled “Venus” by German artist Lucas Cranach at an exhibition in France. That work sold for £6 million in London, but is being analyzed at the Louvre and is believed to be a fake.
An in-depth technical analysis established that the Hals painting was indeed a forgery. Sotheby’s experts used pigmentation tests to determine that the work was “undoubtedly” a fake. Thereafter, Sotheby’s rescinded the sale and reimbursed the client in full for the purchase of the fake work.
Concerns currently exist throughout the art market that there are up to 25 other fakes in it. This could cost art investors a staggering £200 million.