Authorities in Genoa have confiscated twenty-one works previously credited to Amedeo Modigliani after confirming that several of the paintings, which were showcased in an exhibition at Doge’s Palace in Venice and are now on display in Genoa, are most likely inauthentic, reports Andrea Vogt in The Telegraph.
Earlier this week, the foundation sponsoring the show in Genoa decided to shut down the exhibition three days before it was set to close in order to cooperate with the investigation. A seventy-nine-year-old Tuscan art critic and collector, Carlo Pepi, alerted authorities about the suspected fraud.
Pepi began publicly expressing doubts about Genoa’s Modigliani exhibit last February, when the palace first began promoting it with a suspicious-looking reprint of the 1918 oil painting Marie, Daughter of the People. He then filed a formal complaint with the Carabinieri art fraud unit in Rome. French art historian and Modigliani expert Marc Restellini, who founded the Pinacothèque de Paris, backed him, calling the exhibit “dubious.”
As of now, three people, including the curator from Lugano, Switzerland, are under investigation. Meanwhile, Doge’s Palace released a statement “offering maximum collaboration.” The museum considers itself an injured party and views the closing of an exhibition, which received one hundred thousand visitors since March, a blow to its reputation as a prestigious international art venue that has previously staged shows by art historical luminaries as Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso.