The Los Angeles Times’s Jori Finkel has the news that Frans Hals has been authenticated from Elizabeth Taylor’s estate. But before we declare the legend an art savant, Finkel mentions that Christie’s has held a Modigliani back from sale because of doubts about the work’s authenticity:
The painting, “Portrait of a Man, Half-Length,” was for decades thought to be by an imitator or student of Frans Hals, the great Dutch painter often compared to Rembrandt for his vigorous, sometimes humorous depictions of the growing merchant class. Now Ben Hall, the head of Christie’s Old Masters department in New York, is making the case that Taylor’s painting was the handiwork of Hals himself. An expert in Hals’ work agrees.
With the change in attribution comes a change in projected value: a canvas that would have likely brought less than $100,000 could now bring $1 million in an Old Masters auction in January.