A Modigliani found in the trash?
June 20 2016
So an antiques dealer finds a Modigliani near a rubbish bin in Rome, and gets the picture approved by a PR firm doubling as the 'Amadeao Modigliani Institute'. What could possibly be curious about that? Nicole Winfield of AP investigates:
It’s a story almost too fantastical to be true: A flea market dealer finds a painting near a subway trash bin, submits it to laboratory analysis and emerges convinced he has a Modigliani on his hands.
No one would believe it, given the modernist master is one of the most sought-after and forged artists around.
But a public relations firm in Rome that doubles as the Amedeo Modigliani Institute is claiming a signed portrait of “Odette” could be a real deal. It’s putting the work on public view next week saying it hopes to start an academic debate on its authenticity.
“I assure you, this isn’t a fake and we are dealing with a discovery,” insisted Luciano Renzi, the institute’s president and head of an eponymous publicity firm. While acknowledging that experts must make such a certification, he said he wouldn’t put it up to critical review “if the institute didn’t firmly believe it.”
However, the institute has no role or expertise in authenticating Modigliani works, has a financial interest in drumming up publicity for its exhibit, and even the lab it hired refuses to date the painting.
Update - a painter writes:
The face of the alleged Modigliani painting looks1960's just as the female faces in Van Meergeren's fake Vermeers look in retrospect like silent film stars. Difficult to spot at the time? Interesting too that the canvas is attached to the stretcher with staples. Staple guns for this purpose seem to have appeared in 1934 at the earliest. Modi died in 1920. He probably couldn't have afforded one anyway.