French Art Museum Discovers Half of Its Collection Is Fake

Museums are the safeguards of original artworks. Yet, it was discovered that over half of the paintings in Étienne Terrus museum in Elne were counterfeits.

Étienne Terrus

The museum, located in Elne in the South of France, showcases the works of local painter Étienne Terrus (1857-1922). Terrus is considered one of the precursors of Fauvism and was much appreciated by the contemporary artists, like Henri Matisse and André Derain.

Authentic? Or not?

Étienne Terrus museum opened in 1994 and expanded its collection as the town council bought more and more paintings of Terrus in the past two decades. The museum was under renovation recently and they invited local art historian, Eric Forcada, to inspect their work. After a quick glimpse, Forcada started to doubt the paintings’ authenticity.

Étienne Terrus museum

Forcada said that some of the forgeries were roughly made, using canvases that Terrus did not use and some details of the paintings contradicted with time and space. The local media reported that architecture that was built after Terrus’ death was present in the fakes. The most ridiculous case was that one of the signatures was erased with simply a wipe of Forcada’s glove.

Étienne Terrus museum

After much inspection, 82 out of 140 paintings were discovered to be fake. The local authorities have sworn to find out who was behind this case after the blow to the town’s and museum’s reputation.

Amedeo Modigliani exhibition in Italy 

Last year, an exhibition was held in the famous Palazzo Ducale in Venice, Italy, dedicated to their national treasure Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920). Over 100,000 people visited in a period of just over three months. The exhibition was brought to a halt when professionals discovered that over 30% of the exhibits were fake.

Works of Amedeo Modiglilani