Sotheby’s calls for help from Christie’s over ‘fake Master’
AS TWO of the world’s oldest and most famous auction houses, Sotheby’s and Christie’s enjoy a healthy rivalry.
But a legal battle over the authenticity of an £8million portrait said to be by a Dutch Golden Age Master will culminate with Sotheby’s relying on the expertise of its rival.
Sotheby’s wants art experts from Christie’s to help it prove that Portrait of a Gentleman – allegedly by Frans Hals – is in fact a forgery.
In 2011, Sotheby’s sold the painting to an American art collector, but it was found five years later to be “undoubtedly a forgery” after scientific analysis discovered traces of 20th-century materials in the painting not in use in the 17th century.
The auction house refunded the buyer and launched legal proceedings against Mark Weiss Limited, from whom it had bought the painting. Mr Weiss vigorously contests the claim and says further tests are required.
Sotheby’s will seek a court order to obtain the findings of two Christie’s experts who had earlier examined the painting and expressed concerns.