French museum finds over half of its art collection fake

French museum finds over half of its art collection fake

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A French museum dedicated to painter Étienne Terrus has discovered paintings it thought were by him were fakes.The Terrus museum in Elne in the south of France discovered 82 works originally attributed to the artist were not painted by him.
Local police are now investigating an art forgery ring specialising in Catalan painters.
More than half the collection is thought to be fake. The paintings cost about €160,000 (£140,000).
The council in Elne bought the paintings, drawings and watercolours for the museum over a 20-year period between 1990 and 2010.
Eric Forcada, an art historian, contacted the museum in the town near Perpignan several months ago to express his doubts about the authenticity of the paintings, watercolours and sketches.
A key detail was that some of the buildings in the paintings were built after Terrus’s death, local radio station “France Bleu” reported.
The museum assembled a committee of experts from the cultural world, who inspected the works and concluded that 82 of them had not been painted by the Elne-born artist.
The forged works are currently being housed at the Elne police station. The police investigation is also looking into trafficked paintings by other artists throughout the region.
Terrus, who was a close friend to artists Henri Matisse and Aristide Maillol, died in 1922 – BBC

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