Italian police identify 6 suspects in fake Modigliani show
Italy’s art police say they have identified six suspects in connection with a 2017 Modigliani exhibit that was comprised mostly of fakes.
The Carabinieri art squad announced Wednesday that the suspects include an artist who may have counterfeited works of Amedeo Modigliani, two collectors, including an American who procured most of the contested works, the head of the agency that organized the exhibition and its curator.
The show had traveled through lesser-known venues before arriving in Genoa, where the connection to the Ligurian-born artist and the upcoming 100th anniversary of his death in 2020 increased both public interest and expert scrutiny.
The show hastily shut down three days before its scheduled close in 2017, with experts saying that 20 of the 21 paintings it displayed were fakes. Consumer rights groups have demanded refunds for ticket buyers.
Italian prosecutors will now determine if there is enough evidence to back charges, which are then decided by a preliminary hearing judge.
Modigliani died in poverty, but his portraits featuring elongated faces and necks are among the most recognizable artworks of the early 20th century.
(Top image: "Nu Couche" of Amedeo Modigliani is seen during a Sotheby's preview of the May Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art, New York, May 4, 2018. /VCG Photo)