Art Market: Painting withdrawn from sale after artist declares it a fake
Wednesday 19 May 1993
The Dancers 'by Fernando Botero', is not by Fernando Botero, according to Mr Botero himself. The Colombian artist, best-known for his caricatures of social, religious and political figures, described it as a 'very vulgar copy'.
Christie's had, rather embarrassingly, placed the grotesquely fat, yet graceful, couple on the front of a separate catalogue devoted to 11 works by Botero. In fairness to them, the picture was a last-minute addition to the sale: meeting a catalogue deadline, they were judging it only from a colour transparency. However, Sotheby's had been offered the slide last summer, and, according to one source, they felt there was 'something odd' about it.
A Christie's spokesman said that the mistake was realised once it had seen the actual picture. Its size, slightly larger than the original, raised suspicions. He said that the Wall Street Journal had identified three groups of forgers - based in Miami, Paris and Caracas, Venezuela - who are believed to be specialising in painting Boteros.
For the artist, the forgers' activities further confirm his international status: such is Botero's popularity with collectors that his auction record, set in 1992, stands at dollars 1.54m ( pounds 1.02m). Paris recently lined the Champs Elysee with his monumental sculptures. Ironically, however, only four of the Boteros found buyers at Christie's on Monday. Among them, his Familia de Perros, which fetched dollars 211,500 ( pounds 138,235).
Christie's picture came from a respected Mexican private collection; the original from which it was copied is in a private collection in Florida, but has been widely published. However, as the artist pointed out, the forgers had changed a number of features, including moving the signature.
However, despite this dampener, Christie's did achieve two record- breaking prices for Rufino Tamayo, one of Mexico's greatest 20th-century artists. America, his monumental 1955 mural, sold for a record dollars 2.58m ( pounds 1.69m). His previous record was dollars 1.48m, set last November.
The dramatic work, in which the artist expressed his utopian vision of the Americas, spans more than 45 feet in width. It was commissioned by the Bank of the Southwest in Houston, Texas, which needed something to fill its lobby - at more than 11 2 acres, the largest in the United States. The mural - strictly speaking not a mural as it was painted on canvas rather than directly on plaster - was bought by an anonymous buyer. Another Tamayo, Mujer con Mascara Roja, 1940, made dollars 1.54m ( pounds 1m).
Christie's said that despite strong pre-sale interest from the trade, private individuals and institutions, bidding was erratic: half the items in this auction failed to sell.
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
One spelling error costs Companies House up to £9 million after being sued for ruining business
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£35000 - £43000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior IT Support Analyst...