France

Versailles: fake chairs and a French antiques scandal

A royal scandal has struck the Palace of Versailles after the arrest of two respected antiques dealers on suspicion of selling fake furniture to the acclaimed French chateau. The French State payed 2.7 million euros for the purchase, a sale said to be organised by chair expert Bill Pallot, who was arrested along with Parisian gallery owner Laurent Kraemer.

Art expert Didier Rykner points out the differences online: “Look at this one, we see clearly that it is much more worked, more detailed, I’m sorry… Bill Pallot ordered this fake furniture and then it came either by the big antique shops in Paris, either by auction house or direct.”

A Parisian carpenter specialising in old furniture reportedly made the fakes. It comes at a time in which Versailles wants to refurnish its halls with patronage money.

The French art fraud office OCBC is currently investigating the crime, one which has sent the antiques world into a spin and could overshadow the Biennale des Antiquaires art fair set to open this weekend in Paris.

British doubts over Joan of Arc's ring

The Joan of Arc ring, which was temporarily taken out of the UK in March before an export licence was applied for, may not have belonged to the saint. After being taken to France by its new owner without proper documentation, it was quietly returned to London after pressure was exerted by the British authorities. An export licence was then applied for and was quickly granted, on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence that the ring had really once belonged to Joan of Arc.

Painting by Vu Cao Dam to be auctioned in France, believed to be fake

The painting is called Jeunes femmes prenant le thé is offered for the starting price of 15,000 to 20,000 euros. According to art researcher Ngo Kim Khoi in France, this is a fake painting, which is ugly, with vulgar lay-out and its style is not that of the famous Fine Arts College of Indochina so it cannot be an artwork by Vu Cao Dam.

The so-called Caravaggio in the attic looks like a fake to me

I am sorry but it is all too good to be true. The owners of an old house near Toulouse ventured into their attic and found a large dusty painting. When a local antiques dealer gave it a gentle clean, he recognised it as a painting by – or closely associated with – none other than the great Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

The 10 most-wanted missing or stolen paintings

A long-lost work thought to be by Caravaggio has been discovered in a leaking attic in Toulouse, France, where it had sat untouched for more than 150 years after an ancestor, who as an officer of Napoleon’s army, brought it to the country. The discovery – which could be worth €120 million – is being heralded as a “momentous occasion” by experts. But while the Caravaggio is an incredible find, there are still dozens of rare and valuable paintings missing in the world. Here are the top 10 most-wanted, according to the Art Loss Register.

Family may have found $136M Renaissance painting in its attic

A family had a stroke of luck when they discovered a dusty old painting in their attic — it could be worth US$136 million.

The 17th-century painting, which depicts a bloody biblical beheading, may be a long-lost masterpiece from one of history’s greatest painters, the Italian artist Caravaggio, experts told the media on Tuesday.