29th September 2023
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Valencia museum displays over 100 fake paintings, including a ‘€50m Velázquez’

A museum in Valencia is currently holding an exhibition of over 100 counterfeit works of art that have been confiscated by the police working for the regional Historical Heritage Group.

The exhibition, entitled ‘False: the art of deception or the deception of art’ is being held at the MuVIM museum in Valencia until September, and includes 112 works of forged paintings. A figure up to €76 million was being sought by different gangs and individuals trying to sell all the art.

One of the fake works of art was a copy of the ‘Portrait of Mariana of Austria’ by Velázquez, with a price tag of €50 million. The original painting is currently on display at Madrid’s Prado Museum.

Valencia Justice Minister Gabriela Bravo recently tweeted that ‘for this painting of Queen Mariana of Austria that was attributed to Velázquez, 50 million euros were requested. But it is false and is part, from today, of the exhibition of false works seized by the police’.

The forgery was one of five fake paintings claiming to be originals from Spanish masters seized by Valencian police, with the other four works claimed to be paintings by Francisco de Goya.

Bravo said that four people were being investigated for fraud and the attempted sales were accompanied by ‘abundant documentation aimed to deceive and gain the trust of purchasers’.

She added that police inquiries started at the beginning of the year and verified that the fakes were being offered to different buyers via several art dealers in the provinces of Castellón and Valencia.

Two of the Goya fakes were altered copies of portraits done by the neoclassical painter Anton Rafael Mengs, with the originals in the Prado Museum. A third was an Italian copy dating back to the 17th century.

Bravo said that the ‘criminal practice of forging devalues the original works and some of the greatest painters of our history’.

The exhibition in Valencia offers ‘counterfeits that make you laugh’ to copies ‘that have needed CSI analysis to find out if they are originals’, according to local media.

At the exhibition, however, among all the counterfeit works there is an authentic one that the public have to detect. Click here for details of the MuVIM museum.

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