The Terrus Museum in Elne, France, dedicated to the painter Étienne Terrus has discovered that more than half of its paintings are fake. The museum, which is located in Terrus’ hometown, made the discovery after art historian Eric Forcada questioned the authenticity of the paintings. He had been working there as a guest curator at the museum.
This caused an investigation, which proved that some 82 paintings in the 140-piece collection are counterfeit. Elne’s mayor, Yves Barnoil hired a panel of experts to research the paintings. Forcada notes that there were a number of discrepancies in the painting style, the buildings depicted (some weren’t even constructed during that time), and materials used.
Officials in Elne now have a fraud case on their hands and have launched an investigation to find the culprits. "Today, we ask ourselves the question: as art historians, how will we determine fakes in the future?” notes Forcada. “This Terrus affair allows us to clean up some of this market.”
- According to Forcada an original Terrus painting could be sold for up to $18,000, while his other drawings and watercolors would go for around $2,415.