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30th Apr 2018

French museum discovers 60% of its collection is fake

One ink signature was even wiped off under inspection

Kyle Picknell

This is more fraudulent than Kanye West’s latest single

Etienne Terrus Museum, which is located in Elne, near Perpignan, has discovered that almost 60% of its collection of paintings is fake after an art historian who arrived to reorganise the the gallery immediately discovered 82 forgeries. 82. Out of 140 paintings.

That’s not a good ratio. That’s not a good ratio at all. This is an even bigger scandal than the time I found some ‘Adidadidas’ socks whilst on holiday in Spain.

The museum is dedicated to the works of Etienne Terrus himself, an artist from the region who died in 1922. The mayor of the small town, Yves Barniol described him as “Elne’s great painter. He was part of the community, he was our painter,” and described the situation as a “catastrophe” for the local community.

“Knowing that people have visited the museum and seen a collection, most of which is fake, that’s bad. It’s a catastrophe for the municipality,” he said.

The man who uncovered the fraudulent artwork, Eric Forcada, has said that he could tell straight away that most of the paintings were fake.

“At a stylistic level, it’s crude. The cotton supports do not match the canvas used by Terrus. And there are some anachronisms,” Forcada said.

I’m just nodding my head here, how did anyone miss it? The cotton supports are always the first thing that I notice when I look at a piece. And the anachronisms! Jesus! What on earth were they doing? How did they not see?

Prior to the scandal, which has rocked the museum after a recent reopening following a renovation, works by Terrus could sell for up to €15,000 (£13,200). On one painting, Forcada even managed to wipe away the ink signature when he ran his white glove over it. Come on, the fraudster could have at least used a sharpie. Show some respect.

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