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Paintings were passed off as original artwork by Norman Cornish

Earlier this week conman Richard Pearson was arrested for distributing the forged artworks claiming to belong to Norman Cornish, who died in 2014. Northumbria Police released photographs of some of the paintings and drawings which fooled gallery owners.

They are not exact replicas of Cornish originals but are painted in the artist’s distinctive style, showing scenes of everyday life.

Newcastle Crown Court heard fraudster Richard Pearson convinced gallery owners he had access to a collection of Cornish’s artworks through inheritance and a friend who wanted to sell his personal collection. He passed off a series of 14 drawings and pictures. Four of the fakes were sold on to private collectors.

Fake or Fortune couple discover €450 painting is actually worth €100K, but there's a catch

Jan and Chris Starckx purchased what they called The Portrait of a Child at an auction for just €450 back in the 1970s. However, over the years, they began to suspect that they were sat on something rather special. After various trials, which even took the pair to Miami to compare the picture to another genuine Kooning, Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould arrived at the couple’s Belgian home to deliver the good news.

“Well, what we have here is an advantage because we know the other painting went for €50,000,” Philip beamed. “I believe, in many ways, that your picture is superior. The artistic impact, the characterisation of the child, the condition is so good, and you have the name carved into the wet paint, and therefore think it’s worth excess of €50,000. I could see it making up to €100,000.”

However, despite buying the painting over four decades ago, they may not be entitled to own the portrait without being able to clear up who sold the picture to them and why.

Chris explained: “After Miami, we came back and I was contacted by the vendor. He told me the person who left painting died three years ago, and left a lot of money and his belongings to his son. This man, he managed to lose all of his money in a very short time and became homeless. At some point, he was asked to clear his house because he didn’t pay the rent, so he asked two friends to get rid of all his belongings and to sell them.”

Fiona chipped in: “This is really important; the man who owned the painting asked his friends to get rid of it for him? Did he write that down – was there any instructions or anything?”

“The sad fact is, you may not own this picture,” sighed Philip. “If the people who sold it to you did not have the right to sell it, you don’t own it.”

Prado opens landmark Bosch exhibition amid attribution controversy

Bosch fever is now moving on to Madrid, where the most comprehensive exhibition ever held on the Dutch master opens today (31 May). Twenty-four works by Hieronymus Bosch are on display—seven more than were at the Noordbrabants Museum in s’Hertogenbosch earlier this year. Probably never again will so many of his paintings be brought together.

However, part of the difference between the Bosch numbers at the Noordbrabants and the Prado is because of attributional questions. Dutch researchers demoted four works, all Spanish-owned pictures. The Noordbrabants team numbered the Spanish works as 24 (of which they got 17). The Prado specialists regard the total of fully-attributed works as 27 (of which they got 24). 

New catalogue raisonné sheds light on Francis Bacon’s art and controversial life

The forthcoming Francis Bacon catalogue raisonné will offer an unprecedented view into his art—and his controversial private life. Bacon’s surviving oeuvre, totalling 584 paintings, is catalogued in 1,538 pages. Less than a third of the pictures are in museums, with most hidden away in anonymous private collections. Thanks to colour reproductions, some available for the first time, it is now possible to clearly see the development of Bacon’s art.

Although the catalogue will not be published until 30 June, it was launched in London’s Soho—the quarter where Bacon drank and felt at home. Martin Harrison, the editor, has devoted 10 years to the project. He travelled endlessly, failing to locate only one painting, Head with Raised Arms (1955), which was last recorded in Turin more than fifty years ago. The catalogue was funded by the Francis Bacon Estate and although the cost is not being disclosed, it probably amounted to several million pounds.