Art Fakes Loom Over Modigliani Madness


It has been a big year for Amedeo Modigliani.

At least three exhibitions of the Italian painter and sculptor’s work are currently underway or about to open around the world. In New York City, “Modigliani Unmasked” opened at the Jewish Museum in September, highlighting the artist’s early years in Paris, with a special emphasis on his drawings. In Saint Petersburg, Russia, “Modigliani, Soutine, and Other Legends of Montparnasse,” curated by French expert Marc Restellini, opens at the renowned Fabergé Museum later this month, featuring 18 of what Restellini calls the artist’s “most important” works.

 But the biggest show by far is that of London’s Tate Modern, which opens on Nov. 23. The exhibition will feature 12 Modigliani nudes—the largest collection of such paintings to ever appear in the U.K.—which proved so controversial when they were first shown in Paris, a century ago this year, that the police wound up censoring the only solo exhibition the artist ever enjoyed in his lifetime.

But an incident in Genoa last summer looms over all these exhibitions like a pall.

In July, Italian police closed an exhibition at the northern city’s Palazzo Ducale following allegations that up to 21 of the paintings on show were fakes.

Indeed, to the extent that it’s been a big year for Modigliani, it’s not been just because he’s been enjoying a run of shows, but rather because he’s found himself smack-bang in the middle of the latest large-scale forgery scandal to rock the art world.

 Pisa-based expert and collector Carlo Pepi was the first to sound the alarm.

Full report: Art Fakes Loom Over Modigliani Madness