The Italian retiree who tried to sell fake Francis Bacon paintings has been sentenced to one year in prison. In October 2017, he commissioned two men, who, according to them, were supposed to sell the two counterfeits. The experts at the Monaco Auction House quickly realized the ruse.
“These works are of an infantile preposterousness,” said Frédérique Garibaldi-Ribes, lawyer of the civil party. The two (real) paintings by Francis Bacon, Portrait of a character wearing glasses and Portrait of a character on a red background were estimated between 700,000 € and 900,000 €. They are currently exhibited in museums in Sydney and Toronto. Two other paintings were part of the lot.
False certificates for fake Bacon works
Today, works by famous British portraitist Francis Bacon fetch considerable sums. Of course, fake certificates accompanied the two counterfeits. Nevertheless, the experts of the auction house were not fooled: the reproduction was grotesque, with a grid that was visible to the naked eye. The first substitute prosecutor would request 18 months in prison for the retiree from Forte di Marme. According to the defense, the old man had not come to sell the works, but to have them appraised. The verdict fell: one year in prison and 8,000 € in damages. The convicted party plans to appeal.
*Article originally published on the French edition of the Monaco Tribune.