Modigliani Exhibition In Genoa Filled With Fakes

BY Katrina Kufer / Jan 16 2018 / 19:22 PM

The Palazzo Ducale show saw early closure after it was revealed that 20 paintings were fake, sparking demand for refunds of the 100,000 visitors who flocked to the show of a painter noted for being one of the most notoriously forged artists

Modigliani Exhibition In Genoa Filled With Fakes
Courtesy of Luca Zennaro/ANSA, via Associated Press
Installation view of Genoa exhibition featuring 'Ritratto di Chaim Soutine' ('Portrait of Chaim Soutine'), reported as painted by Modigliani

Following suspicions, it has recently come to light that the Amedeo Modigliani exhibition, which opened at Palazzo Ducale, Genoa last spring, showcased around 20 forged works. Having been seized by the Italian authorities and resulting in the early closure of the show, appointed art expert Isabella Quattrocchi released a statement indicating that 20 of the 21 paintings were crude counterfeits at best and produced in the USA and Eastern Europe. Should the Italian courts agree with her assessment, the paintings will by law need to be destroyed.

Figures such as art critic Carlo Pepi and Modigliani specialist Marc Restellini were among the first to voice authenticity concerns, with Pepi going as far as to make an official complaint at the Carabinieri art fraud unit in Rome. Rudy Chiappini, who curated the exhibition and is currently under investigation, maintains that until concretely proven otherwise, the works are originals worth millions of euros. He asserted that having followed up on provenance while acquiring the works, any wrongdoing falls under the responsibility of those who provided him the documentation, including Hungarian art dealer Joseph Guttmann, who loaned 11 of the works, and Massimo Vitta Zelman, president of MondoMostre Skira, who organised the show.

Palazzo Ducale is in the process of seeking reimbursement for the copyright damages while an Italian consumer group plans to file a class action lawsuit to secure full refunds for visitors, including compensation for their travel expenses.