Terrus museum in Elne in the south of France announced Friday that 82 works originally attributed to the Impressionist artist Étienne Terrus (1857-1922) are actually not by him.
More than half the museum's collection is thought to be fake, prompting the town's mayor Yves Barniol to call the situation a "disaster."
Several months ago, a visiting art historian, Eric Forcada alerted museum staff of his suspicions of the Terrus art. A committee of experts was then formed to authenticate the artwork, resulting in the surprise conclusion that most of the museum's Terrus paintings were not by the hand of the Elne-born artist, who was a friend of Matisse.
Some of the paintings depict buildings that went up after Terrus' lifetime.