Sotheby's Sues Dealer Mark Weiss Over Alleged Fake Old Master Painting

'Unknown Man' portrait, said to be by Frans Hals
'Unknown Man' portrait, said to be by Frans Hals
  • Saint Jerome

    Saint Jerome

    Sotheby's

Sotheby's will head to court in London with dealer Mark Weiss and Mark Weiss Ltd. over an alleged fake Old Master painting that was sold in a private sale. Sotheby's later reimbursed the American buyer for the picture and is demanding that Weiss, who supplied the work to Sotheby's client, repay them.

Reports the Financial Times: "The auction house last year ordered pigmentation tests on “Portrait of a Gentleman”, purported to be by the Dutch painter Frans Hals, after it became suspicious about its provenance. It had sold the painting, supplied by Mr Weiss’s gallery, to a US buyer in 2011 for £8.4m ($10m) in a private sale."

In a separate suit, Sotheby's is also suing Lionel de Saint-Donat Pourrières, the supplier of a painting by the circle of Parmigianino, that the auction house contends is a fake. The buyer of the alleged faux "Saint Jerome" was also reimbursed by Sotheby's for $840,000.

A number of Old Master works came into question last fall after being traced to an unknown French dealer named Giulano Ruffini, 71, who insists, ‘I am a collector, not an expert.’ An investigation is underway into about $250 million worth of art.

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