Sculpture declared ‘worthless’ by BBC’s Fake or Fortune was in fact a Giacometti later sold for £500,000

The episode saw experts struggle to authenticate the sculpture, titled ‘Gazing Head’

Adam White@__adamwhite
Friday 23 August 2019 17:09
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A sculpture that the BBC’s Fake or Fortune determined could have been a fake was later found to be real and sold for half a million pounds at auction.

The 2017 episode saw presenter Fiona Bruce and art expert Philip Mould reluctantly declare the sculpture “worthless” after failing to come to a conclusion on its origins. But it later proved to be a genuine work by celebrated Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti.

Giacometti fakes are reportedly notorious in the art market, and the sculpture in question, called Gazing Head, did not have the sculptor’s signature inscribed upon it, leaving its authenticity in question.

But shortly after broadcast, layers of household paint were removed from the sculpture, uncovering Giacometti’s signature. In February, the sculpture was sold by Christie’s for £500,000.

Gazing Head was brought to Fake or Fortune by Clare Clark-Hall, whose grandmother became friends with Giacometti’s mistress while studying in Paris in the 1930s, and reportedly took possession of the sculpture at the time.

In a statement to The Telegraph, Mould said: “Even though we have quite long lead times, we still work to a television deadline on Fake or Fortune and the art world does not always observe the same pace. This one took longer and more consideration than most. But it was worth waiting for.”

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