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Displaying items by tag: art historians

Three art historians who are affiliated with the state-run Shanghai Museum are saying that Sotheby’s sold a fake Chinese scroll for $8.2 million last September. ‘Gong Fu Tie,’ which soared past its high estimate of $500,000, was listed as a thousand-year-old masterpiece of Chinese calligraphy by Song Dynasty poet, Su Shi.

The historians are saying that the work, which was purchased by Shanghai businessman and collector, Liu Yiqian, was produced during the 19th century using an old method for copying and retracing artworks. The experts also stated that the forgery was made using a stone carving rather than the original work.

Sotheby’s released a statement saying that the auction house “firmly stands by the attribution of ‘The Gong Fu Tie Calligraphy’ to the Song Dynasty poet Su Shi.” If the scroll is deemed a forgery it could be a major blow to Sotheby’s, which is trying to expand its reach in China and touting its high standard of expertise to collectors both in and outside of the country. 

Published in News
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 13:05

Copy of Lost Da Vinci Masterwork Found

A division of the Italian police department that specializes in art thefts has located a 400-year-old copy of a lost Leonardo da Vinci fresco. Depicting the Battle of Anghiari, the masterpiece was never finished.

The copy, widely known as the Tavola Doria, once adorned a wall of Florence’s city hall, the Palazzo Vecchio, and illustrates a historic battle between Florence and Milan that took place in 1440. It is believed that da Vinci experimented with various fresco-painting techniques before he started work on the battle scene in 1503. Despite his efforts, the paints began to drip and da Vinci was never able to finish the fresco. Over the next few years, the piece deteriorated and the Italian painter, Giorgio Vasari, was commissioned to paint over what was left of the incomplete fresco.

Since the unfinished da Vinci painting no longer exists, copies of the lost artwork are extremely important to art historians and scholars. This particular copy, painted on a small wooden panel, was last seen in public 73 years ago at a Leonardo da Vinci exhibition held in Milan on the eve of World War II. After the exhibition, the work disappeared.

Experts have since determined that the panel was stolen from its owners in Naples and ended up in the hands of a Swiss art dealer. The work was sent to Germany for restoration in the 1960s, made a brief appearance in the 1970s at an art gallery in New York, and by the 1990s was the property of a wealthy Japanese art collector.

Finally back in Italy, the Tavola Doria will be on view at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery during 2013. The work will then spend four years in Japan as part of a loan agreement worked out with the Fuji Art Museum in Tokyo, where it was last exhibited.

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