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Did the Modigliani exhibition in Genoa last summer contain lots of fakes?

According to a recent article in The Art Newspaper, 20 of 21 Amedeo Modiglianis seized by police at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa last summer are fake, expert Isabella Quattrocchi confirms.  The show which drew more than 100,000 visitors was closed three days earlier last July after the state prosecutor ordered the seizure of 21 alleged fakes, the expert was appointed by the Italian prosecutors to assess the images. Quattrocchi stated in a written report that "in terms of both style and the pigments [used]”, the alleged paintings by the early 20th-century artist are “crudely forged”. She adds that the frames come “from countries in Eastern Europe and the United States, and cannot be linked to Modigliani’s context or historical period”. The Italian collector Carlo Pepi and the Paris-based art historian Marc Restellini both questioned works in the show. An Italian court will now consider Quattrocchi’s findings.  The investigation into the pictures is still ongoing.


The museum declared in a note to the press and public:


Modigliani

16 marzo – 16 luglio 2017 13 luglio 2017


 Palazzo Ducale has been acknowledged by the District Attorney’s Office of Genoa about the inquiry on some of Modigliani’s artworks, and has been making all reasonable efforts to cooperate. Due to the ongoing procedure and regardless of its outcome, Palazzo Ducale has been suffering serious economic and public image damages (and may suffer more in the future) and considers itself exclusively as the injured party. Palazzo Ducale wishes to highlight not to be the direct organizer of the exhibition, having commissioned its production and the selection of the artworks to Mondo Mostre Skira, a nationally and internationally esteemed partner, Palazzo Ducale has been working with for years on great exhibitions like “Frida Kahlo”, “Da Van Gogh a Picasso. Capolavori dal Museo di Detroit” (fourth exhibition in the range in Italy for number of visitors in 2016).

Mondo Mostre Skira did choose Rudy Chiappini as main curator of the exhibition: he had been the director of the Museum of Art in Lugano for over 20 years. He is a respected curator of international exhibitions, including some on Modigliani, and was never called into question by the scientific community. For this reason Palazzo Ducale believes to have acted following all its usual criteria of care, both by choosing a partner of a remarkable international experience (whose President Massimo Vitta Zelman we deeply trust, after working together successfully for many years) and by sharing the decision of MondoMostreSkira to appoint a serious and acknowledged curator as Rudy Chiappini.

Palazzo Ducale confirms its own trust in the judges and will seek legal protection for its rights and public image. Due to ongoing investigation on 21 artworks on display, Palazzo Ducale and Mondo Mostre Skira have decided to close the Modigliani exhibition in advance out of respect for all visitors. Thus, the show cannot be visited any longer.


 


The Modigliani exhibition currently runs until 2 April at Tate Modern in London. The Italian curators maintain that the works in the show are authentic. “For this exhibition, we are only borrowing works that feature in the widely accepted 1972 catalogue raisonné by Ambrogio Ceroni, so we have no reason to be concerned,” says the Tate co-curator, Nancy Ireson. Ceroni’s 1958 catalogue raisonné is considered the benchmark.  The Genoa exhibition curator Rudy Chiappini (who is one of the suspects) said: ” The new information about the frames is ridiculous."


Source: Gareth Harris: Twenty Modiglianis seized by police in Genoa are fake, expert confirms. Works were exhibited at Palazzo Ducale in July when they were confiscated by the authorities. In: The Art Newspaper, 11.1.2018

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