Sotheby’s has discovered another fake from the same source as the Frans Hals. This is one is a painting of St. Jerome attributed to ‘Circle of Parmigianino’ and was sold in January of 2012 but now has been deemed a fake due to the presence of a modern pigment throughout the work.
Bendor Grosvenor has Sotheby’s statement:
When we learned last year that the painting may have originated from Giuliano Ruffini, we informed the purchaser from our January 2012 auction and initiated a process including technical analysis that established that the work was undoubtedly a forgery. Ruffini is an individual at the center of a broad-ranging and well-publicized criminal investigation for allegedly selling a considerable number of Old Master paintings that are modern forgeries.
As was true in the recent case of the fake Frans Hals painting [sold by Sotheby’s for $10m in 2010], Sotheby’s is honoring its guarantee and fully reimbursing our purchaser. We have also exercised our contractual right to cancel the sale, which requires our consignor to reimburse us. While we would have preferred to settle this matter out of court, our consignor has refused to abide by his obligations and we have been left no other option than to pursue legal action.
The Antiques Trade Gazette has some more of the details:
The complaint filed today in a New York court against the consignor of the painting Saint Jerome was lodged today after the auctioneers said they had “no other option than to pursue legal action” after concluding that the work was “undoubtedly a forgery”.
The vendor is named in the complaint as Lionel de Saint Donat-Pourrieres who is believed to be resident in Luxembourg and has refused to return the proceeds of the sale according to Sotheby’s claim.
The lot was catalogued as ‘Circle of’ the Italian mannerist Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola, known as Parmigianino (1503-40). Offered at a New York auction in January 2012, the unframed oil on panel was estimated at $ 500,000-700,000 and was knocked down for $800,000 (£509,650).
Sotheby’s sues vendor of Italian Old Master as ‘fakes scandal’ reaches court (Antiques Trade Gazette)