What happens when a reputable art auction company like Sotheby’s sells a fake? A Parmagianino painting has been uncovered to be a forgery. The painting of Saint Jerome has been discovered to be a twentieth century re-creation when it was originally dates as a 16th century masterpiece.
In New York, the well known art auction house Sotheby’s sold the painting for eight hundred, forty two thousand and five hundred dollars. The company later gave the buyer a full refund after there was a phthalocyanine discovered on the piece by methods of scientific analysis. It is important to note that Sotheby’s later acquired the firm that performed that scientific testing on the forged Parmagianino.
After the refund, the auction house decided to sue the dealer who had initially sold them the piece for six hundred and seventy two thousand dollars but he refused to return the money. He told authorities that he had acquired the painting from an art dealer who has recently been the main subject involved in a number of uncovered forgeries. The art dealer, Ruffini, has been investigated for selling a forged painting to the Prince of Liechtenstein and it has been uncovered that both the paintings contain the same materials which gave them away as forgeries.
The paintings had to be created in the early twentieth century as they use a binding agent which was manufactured well after the 1930s. This varnish was found all over the paintings, allowing the forensic art scientists to believe that both of the paintings were in fact, forged and sold for profits but Ruffini claims that he never claimed these works to be the famous works they believed them to be. He was simply an art historian and could not have known to doubt the experts who told him they were authentic.