Faun's A Fake
By Margaret Lyons in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 12, 2007 11:36PM
Liar, liar, half-man half-goat sculpture on fire! Turns out the Art Institute's "Faun" sculpture is a big fat forgery. The sculpture is not in fact the work of French post-impressionist painter Paul Gauguin but is instead a fake, made by Shaun Greenhalgh, whose family has been running an international art forgery business from England for the last 17 years.
The Art Institute bought the statue from a private dealer in 1997, and the dealer bought it from Sotheby's in 1994. The forged documentation was, apparently, superbly done.
According to Erin Hogan, a spokesperson for the Art Institute, "We were very disappointed, but also very impressed not only by the very, very good forgery of the object but also by all the paperwork that identified its origin and its former owners." Hogan also said that the museum doesn't "have experience in this area," and that they're conferring with the art dealer and with Sotheby's to figure out how to un-fuck all this. [Trib, AP, and Radar, who has the hilarious headline "Fee Fie Faux Faun."]
Photo by Cerdsp