Fake or Fortune series 3

The BBC programme Fake or Fortune is back on Sunday 19th January and the first is a painting believed to be by Edouard Vuillard .

“Scriptwriter Keith Tutt fell in love with the work of French post-Impressionist painter Edouard Vuillard in his school art class. When a large oval picture of a Parisian café scene said to be by the artist appeared in a provincial auction house, he gambled his savings on it – even though it doesn’t appear in the official record of Vuillard’s works. To prove it, the team will need to convince some of the most demanding art experts in France… and they’ve got a tricky history with Fake or Fortune.
The quest for evidence starts in Geneva, where Philip and conservationist Aviva Burnstock compare Keith’s picture with a huge Vuillard work called Le Grand Teddy, painted for a French café in 1919. Can science prove that the two pictures were painted using identical materials?
Fiona picks up the provenance trail in France and Holland, unearthing tantalising clues about the picture’s past, while a meeting with a pair of British antiques hunters dramatically expands the scope of the investigation. Could there really be another missing oval?
Once the team has marshalled all their evidence, it’s time to seek the approval of the Wildenstein Institute in Paris – the body who notoriously rejected a highly credible Monet in the first ever episode of Fake or Fortune. Have the team done enough to convince them that Keith’s picture is genuine?”

UPDATE 19th January

Well that was a tense hour before we found out if it was or wasn’t a Vuillard, I was holding my breath as Fiona Bruce read out the letter – drum roll 🙂 the panel from the Wildenstein Institute unanimously say YES it is an original and may be worth upwards of £300,000. You have to feel sorry for the couple who after years of research had sold it along with the companion piece.

It is such a shame that the larger painting of Le Grand Teddy is in a bank vault in Geneva. Art is made to be seen not hidden away never to see the light of day.

I hadn’t heard of ‘glue distemper’ that Vuillard had used in the paintings so it was interesting to see a present day artist using it for stage backdrops, one if the few who still use it.

26th January

Tonight’s programme followed two paintings that might be by Constable. I thought the one owned by the British lady was but the one owned by the American couple wasn’t but I was wrong they were both by John Constable.

2nd February

Tonight’s programme is following the journey of a painting by Chagall. I nearly choked on my tea when the owner said he’d paid £100,000 back in 1992.

It was sent to the Chagall Committee who are his two granddaughters and I was expecting them to say that it was a fake but I was stunned when Fiona Bruce read the rest of their letter that under French law they were confiscating it and would have it destroyed.

You can read more here and here

9th February

The last programme in this series was slightly different in that instead of viewers paintings being investigated they had identified 2 paintings on the BBC Your Paintings website that may have been by Thomas Gainsborough.

You can read more on the website of Bendor Grosvenor here.

The first painting was an oval portrait in the collection of St Albans museums although the programme found a lost letter from the late 1960’s saying that it was loan to them. It is a genuine Gainsborough although it had been cut down at some point as originally it would have been an oval in a rectangle.

The second was a landscape at the Courtauld Gallery and the blue in the sky was proved to have been painted after Gainsborough’s death. The expert decided that it was an original drawing by Gainsborough that had been overpainted some years later.


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