Art Market: Painting withdrawn from sale after artist declares it a fake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 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...