Harrods hosts an old master
Friday 26 September 2008
Has the credit crunch reached even Harrods? It's not often the superior Knightsbridge store provides a cut-price option but, in these straitened times, they're offering money-saving Monets and reduced Renoirs.
This week, the Castle Fine Art gallery on the second floor unveiled an exhibition of "Masters-inspired" paintings by John Myatt, the notorious forger. Among the works for sale are his ersatz Waterlilies – a snip at £9,950 when you consider that Monet's real deal sold for £41m at Christie's this summer – and Gauguin's Girl with Fruit at £12,000.
Myatt turned to fakery to pay the bills in 1986, placing an advertisement in Private Eye offering "fakes for £200", and spent most of the following decade churning out more than 200 counterfeits. Though he used household emulsion mixed with KY Jelly, he fooled auction houses who sold his works for thousands of pounds. In 1995 he was sentenced to 12 months in Brixton prison, where he was nicknamed Picasso.
These days the prison Picasso is fully recovered from his brush with the law, dealing in his "legitimate fakes", advising on a Hollywood caper about his life, and sitting on the Government's Fraud Advisory Panel.
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