The £670,000 Greek fake at Sotheby's?
June 15 2012
Readers may remember the case of a Greek art collector suing Sotheby's for selling him not one but two alleged fakes. Now, Artinfo reports a court has found against Sotheby's with regard to one of the pictures, the above 'Virgin and Child' (above) sold as by Constantinos Parthenis for £670,000, and has orderd the auctioneers to pay Diamantis Diamantides £950,000 in damages. Sotheby's are appealing against the decision, and say:
"It stands to reason that an auction house which sells art worth billions of dollars per year and relies on its reputation to secure consignments and purchasers would not put its business at risk by knowingly selling forged works."
This is a cut and paste response from their previous denials of the case. At the same time, the market for Greek art has fallen through the floor. Pictures are struggling to sell for a fraction of what they did before the 2008 crash. So, paradoxically, Mr Diamantides' pictures are worth more as fakes (if he can indeed force Sotheby's to repay him his money) than they are as the real thing.