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Visitors lined up for the Amedeo Modigliani exhibit at the Palazzo Ducale in Venice last year. Photo: Palazzo Ducale.

Twenty Modigliani Paintings from Genoa Exhibit Are Counterfeit, Expert Finds

Twenty paintings that were featured in an exhibition dedicated to Amedeo Modigliani in Genoa last July have been confirmed as forgeries, reports the Art Newspaper. The Italian authorities seized all works from the show after allegations of fraud prompted the show at the Palazzo Ducale to close early. Isabella Quattrocchi, an expert appointed by an Italian court, declared that the paintings were “crudely forged” and that their frames were made in “Eastern Europe and the United States, and cannot be linked to Modigliani’s context or historical period.”

Rudy Chiappini, the show’s curator, defended his involvement with the exhibition. “I collected the information and documentation that was submitted to me for each canvas,” he said. “If there has been any wrongdoing, we will need to go back to the original source of those attributions. Until proven otherwise, I remain convinced that the works are originals.”

Officials at Palazzo Ducale stated that they are the “victims, the real injured party” and that the palace will “seek a reimbursement of the copyright damages which we have suffered.” More than one hundred thousand visitors attended the exhibition of the twenty-one paintings, which at the time were estimated to be worth millions of euros. If the court agrees with Quattrocchi’s assessment of the works, Italian law states that they must be destroyed.

Tuscan art critic Carlo Pepi was one of the first critics to introduce skepticism about the show in February of 2016, before making an official complaint with Rome’s Carabinieri art fraud unit. His denouncement was supported by Modigliani specialist Marc Restellini, who claimed in Le Monde last December that Modigliani, an early twentieth-century painter who died in poverty, was renowned for being among the most copied artists ever.

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