The Genoa international scandal
The unending forgery occurred since the Modigliani's death, it has given to a less expert public a deformed vision of the real artistic production of the artist: this is one of the reasons why Modigliani's name is often linked with fakes. Among the endless quarrels and the various scandals that have involved the artist born in Livorno, in the people's memory constantly resurfaces what constantly, and perhaps improperly, it is remembered as "the hoax of 1984" that in the collective imagination represent an incomparable scandal connected to the artist, but 'the Genoa's case', both for the development of events and for the prestigious place that hosted the Modigliani exhibition, it is undoubtedly to be considered like the greatest Modigliani's scandal of all time.
With the only intention of leaving to everyone the freedom to forming an opinion obout this new "affaire Modigliani", in this page visitors will find meticulous informations about this case, including several articles published by various newspapers, many documents emerged over time, some my personal comments and those of other Modigliani fans who have lived through the social media, every steps of this incredible event.
The Modigliani exhibition was set up in an apartment of the Doge of Ducal Palace in Genoa, and was co-produced by Ducal Palace and MondoMostre Skira who entrusted the cure to Rudy Chiappini. The duration of the exhibition was planned for four months (March 16 - July 16), but the news was already circulating some months before the inauguration. On 15/03/2017, then one day before the opening, ll Secolo XIX offers an exhibition's preview going to interview the art historian Stefano Zuffi and the president of Ducal Palace Luca Borzani.
3/02/2017 On Carlo Pepi Facebook page appared a message of a person who asked him an opinion about Genoa exhibition, attaching an article in which there was an image of a work that would have been exposed. Obviously, not being able to know what works would have been exposed in Genoa, Pepi limited himself to judge the painting reported (Nu couché - Céline Howard), declared by him immediately fake.
Still through Facebook, three days later, on 6 February, Carlo Pepi expressed doubts about the Genoa exhibition and on April 17 he declared fake the "portrait of Maria" that appeared among the works selected.
He got in the meantime the exhibition catalog and on April 29th he exposes himself publicly, again through Facebook, writing a post in which he stating that «very rare are the authentic works exhibited in Genoa» moreover, he emphasizes the fact to be «the only one to intervene to stop this unsustainable dishonesty of making fake exhibitions deceiving the public».
I decide to go to Genoa on the weekend between 6/7 May and, just out of the Ducal Palace, I write a post where I express my amazement about the logic with which this exhibition was set up, attaching some photos of the works that I do not consider authentic.
18/05/2017 from the Facebook profile of Carlo Pepi, we read that Marc Restellini has supported his position for 13 fakes exhibited in Genoa.
22/05/2017 the Ansa Agency publish the news of the 13 dubious works on display in Genoa. Pepi refers to the Ansa journalist: «Nobody wants to talk about it, but the exhibition of Genoa should be reviewed because I think there are about 13 dubious works. In addition, three "double signature" paintings are badly attributed, as well as to the author Kisling also to Modigliani, which has nothing to do on except for the reproduction of his works. Why do the big experts continue not to intervene?». - he continues - «My invite is to verify the works in the exhibition, because I am sure that there are several non-authentic». In this article, Pepi, previously founder and director of Modigliani's birthplace, is remembered like the only expert to don't have wrong about the authenticity of the three heads found in the canals of Livorno in 1984 attributed to Modigliani by the most important Italian art historian at the time. «It is not difficult to see that there are several fakes on display in Genoa. It was enough to see the catalog» - concludes Pepi.
The news is picked up by the major Italian newspapers, including Repubblica which reports the reply of the Ducale and the related threat of lawsuit they intend to advance against Carlo Pepi for his statements: «The only painting that Pepi quotes, the portrait of Soutine, has been exhibited in Paris, in Lausanne, Pisa, Turin: all these details are present in the catalog. As well as inside the catalog it is clear the documentation of all the works on display, which have a dense bibliography both for exhibitions and for publications - says the president of Palazzo Ducale, foundation for Culture, Luca Borzani - the curator of the exhibition, Rudy Chiappini, is a person of great prestige who has curated important exhibitions, from the Moma in New York to the Palazzo Reale in Milan. As Palazzo Ducale we are evaluating all the conditions for a lawsuit for moral and material damages against Pepi for his statements». In the same article is reported the comment of the curator of the exhibition Rudy Chiappini, critic and art historian, member of the Steering Committee of the exhibition on Modigliani at Ducal Palace, that reply to the prosecutions addressed him by Carlo Pepi: «Complaints baseless, instrumental and pretentious». The curator of the Genoa exhibition continues: «I do not know Pepi, who is also considered like a great Modigliani expert and I haven't see his scientific publications and exhibitions on Modigliani, I only know he had disagreement on some works with the Modigliani Institute Legal Archives and I see he base his assessment on simple intuitions, all based on the reproduction in the catalog. It speaks of fakes but then softens the tone and invites verification». Chiappini takes into consideration two works judged by Pepi first as fakes and then as dubious: «"Nu couché (Céline Howard)" and the "Portrait of Chaim Soutine", the latter already exhibited in Pisa in 2014 and in Turin in 2015, in two exhibitions curated by the Center Pompidou - said Chiappini - they did not raise any reservations about it, and yet Pepi is Tuscan, he could have seen it in Pisa». «These charges are absolutely unfounded and also instrumental and arrive after two months from the exhibition opening and I would also say in the run-up to the politics elections. All the works on display are original and the prosecutions are unjustified and groundless. So there would be all terms of lawsuit with the request of compensation for image damage» concludes Chiappini. We also read a clarification from Pepi: «I immediately realize, for example, that the nude is a copy of an original Modigliani sold at exorbitant values. But there are also portraits that are not authentic, for example, one of his Parisian friend Soutine, another is "Maria" and others». Pepi, in overall, identifies in the Genoa exhibition "at least 13 fake works", in addiction of "the three that are from Kisling but certainly not by Modigliani". Carlo Pepi, recognized worldwide as a great expert on Modigliani and also commissioned by several courts to draw up appraisals, reports to the journalist of Repubblica that «the world is full of Modigliani fakes, I recognize them immediately. I am contacted continuously about fake works, I am trained», and he also says: «I resigned from Modigliani's birthplace, which I founded, and then from the Modigliani Archives because, the only one among the members, I refused to authenticate works that in my opinion were fakes».
Even the local newspaper of Genoa Il Secolo XIX takes up the news reported by Repubblica, adding a statement by Carlo Pepi who explains that «The attribution of works to Modigliani is often controversial, sometimes I preferred not to make polemics. But when I had it in my hands the Genoa exhibition catalog and I saw 13 fakes all together ... I told to myself it was too much».
Also in the article published online by Il Secolo XIX, regarding the list of "dubious" works, we read the comment by Pepi who reports that he is convinced that there are a group of «plateausly fake works» and a small group of more difficult attribution: in the first group there are the two works indicated in the catalog with the numbers 9 and 9bis, that is to say "Red caryatid" and "Bride and Groom (The Couple)", "Chaim Soutine" (number 19), " Reclining Nude (Céline Howard)" (33, on top on the page), the drawing "Portrait of Moise Kisling" (36) and "The atelier of Moise Kisling" (37), "attributed to Kisling and mistakenly to Modigliani"; similar objections are made to the works indicated with the numbers 38 and 39, the "Head of Woman" (45), the "portrait of a woman (La femme aux macarons)" (56) and the "portrait of Maria" (60).
In the same article we also read the reply of the Ducal Palace in the person of Luca Borzani, president of the Ducal Foundation, who explains «All the works were already published or already exhibited over time. The work to which Pepi refers was exhibited in Lausanne in 1994, in Paris in 2003 in an exhibition curated by the Georges Pompidou Center, in Pisa in 2014 and in Turin in 2015. It is clear that all his considerations will be exposed to the curator, Rudy Chiappini, who is a well-known professor, a great expert on Modigliani. It is our intention to consider a lawsuit for moral and material damages».
Traced back from the Il Secolo XIX, Rudy Chiappini also confirm the words of Borzani: «They are works often exhibited in museums or high-level galleries. The controversy? I prefer to stay out of all: I'm in Switzerland and I stay in Switzerland ...».
23/05/2017 Il Tirreno (Tuscan newspaper) publishes an article with a summary of the case and, for the first time, the reproductions of the images of the works put in doubt by Carlo Pepi are shown.
24/05/2017 the prestigious Institut Restellini launches through Facebook a support message to Carlo Pepi.
The message is signed by the French art historian and director of the Pinacothèque de Paris and Singapore Marc Restellini, known in the art world like one of the greatest Modigliani experts and considered a pioneer in scientific analysis on Modigliani's works .
Modigliani exhibition in Genoa
New scandal around Modigliani. Finally a series of courageous articles have been published since yesterday regarding this event.
This exposure is doubtful, I had to report this situation to the Italian authorities as soon as I saw the content.
The institute knows these works because they are fakes, we have all the documentations and scientific documentations to prove it.
These are forgery for at least 1/3 of the paintings exhibited. We did not see such a thing from Christian Parisot's condemnation, with arrest, for forgery. Congratulations to Carlo Pepi for his action. This exposition seriously deceives the public and harms the image and the notoriety of Amedeo Modigliani. We are extremely vigilant and we will guarantee the completeness of the work and the pleasure of the public.
25/05/2017 Carlo Pepi asks to the Municipality of Livorno to retire the three works on loan to the Genoa exhibition and the day after, again through Facebook, the Modigliani expert gives an explanation of his request.
27/05/2017 Comes out an article published by Il Corriere della Sera (Corriere Fiorentino insert) and the following day, Pepi writes a message in which he claims his competences; a choice certainly dictated by the fact that in the various newspapers, online too, his long career regarding the art attributions, is reduced to the single episode of 1984, when he resulted to be the only expert to declare the inauthenticity of the stones 'fished' in the canals of Livorno.
29/05/2017 from La Nazione we read an article in which is reported an interview to Carlo Pepi that as usual does not use half words: «It is an indecorous exhibition and I wonder where are the great art experts, those who appear on television. In Genoa there are about 13 dubious works, that not even a child would authenticate»[...] The works to which Pepi refers - exposed between panels with biographical inaccuracies and phrases that Modigliani never said - are some portraits (including that of Chaim Soutine), studies of caryatids, a nude and three still lifes attributed to Moïse Kisling and Modigliani too. «Everyone knows that Modigliani has never signed still lifes, a kind he hated as much as the landscape, much less at 4 hands! It's pure science fiction! I invite anyone to go and visit the exhibition to see what has been exposed». So Carlo Pepi concludes, while from Paris comes the support of Marc Restellini, currently engaged in the publication of the Modigliani catalog raisonné: «over a third of the paintings on display are fakes and we have all the scientific evidence to prove it. I have already reported the fact to the Italian authorities».
On an article of Repubblica we read the answer from the mayor of Livorno Filippo Nogarin to Carlo Pepi's request to withdraw the works on loan to the Genoa exhibition. Nogarin asks for «an immediate withdrawal of the 13 suspicious works from the Modigliani exhibition in Genoa: the curators must to clarify how this "misadventure" could have happened» and he continues: «If not, we will be forced to request to get our works back to protect the image of Livorno and also of Modigliani that too often has been compromised in the recent past». «What we can not accept - says Nogarin - is our works are along side with fakes: our three works, like admitted by Pepi, are authentic and we ask that this fact will be acknowledged by both organizers and from the Ducal Palace. The line must be very clear. On one side there is the universally recognized heritage of an artist and his city, on the other, there's someone who wants to speculate on his persons. We have a duty to protect the Modigliani art productions from any suspicion, veiled too. For the rest, we will wait the results of the investigations that the competent authorities are already starting». From the Ducal Palace, Rudy Chiappini thanks the first citizen of Livorno: «we thank Mayor Nogarin, whose spirit we share and intend to reassure him. Precisely in this sense, we have mandated our lawyers to protect in every way, the moral and material image of the organizers and the curator of the exhibition». The organizers of the exhibition reiterate the curator words: «All the works in the exhibition have already been showed in large exhibitions at prestigious institutions, each of these have their own dense catalog documents, with their own bibliography. And we are willing to present our claims in each due place». Nogarin, however, sinks the blow, even if he doesn't make the resounding act of withdrawal of the works on loan to the Genoa exhibition: «Pepi is the leading Italian expert on Modigliani, he was right in 1984 and I have no reason to believe that he is making a mistake now- explains the mayor - if we don't ask an immediate withdrawal of works, it is only for the respect for the Municipality of Genoa to which we have granted the loan before, and now we grant them the benefit of the doubt».
30/05/2017 Carlo Pepi appeals to Italian art historians: «Leave your theories aside for a moment and go and see the Modigliani exhibition in Genoa. I want to hope that some of you have "eye" to realise the series of filth that it has been exposed and finally take up position: giving your concrete contribution to put an end to the indecent, unpunished proliferation of fakes! Try to be interested of the uniqueness and sacredness of the art, and together we making a barrier to stop the really bad habitude to put into circulation myriads of fakes! I want to hope that some of you have the abilities, the self-love, and the courage to take a position».
This appeal does not go unnoticed. Several art historians, whose names are protected by the secret of the investigation, respond to the call by expressing their support to Carlo Pepi and to Marc Restellini for their judgments regarding the fakes exhibits in Genoa. Among these mails sent to Pepi, appear prestigious names in the history of art which, after analyzing the history, provenance, exposures and authentication of the incriminated works, they declare to be available to endorse before a Court, in case there were need, the thesis of inauthenticity expressed by the two Modigliani experts.
On Liguria notizie we read that the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Rome are working on the Genoa's scandal and they would be conducting investigations. The news is confirmed the next day in the online newspaper Il Secolo XIX which reports the news that «the Tuscan collector Carlo Pepi had contacted the Carabinieri with an exposed summary and providing some documents, his own testimony and accompanying everything with the list of other potential experts to listen». We also know that from this complaint «an investigation of the Carabinieri was born, which began to look the documents on the disputed works in collaboration with the Genoa Public Prosecutor's Office, although it is not easy at the moment to predict how the investigations will take place». In a issued note on the afternoon of May 30, Palazzo Ducale and MondoMostre Skira specified that:
- the "Modigliani" exhibition was co-produced by Palazzo Ducale and MondoMostre Skira, who entrusted its care to a steering committee curated by Rudy Chiappini, ex director of the Lugano Museum of Modern Art, and composed of Dominique Viéville, ex former director of the Rodin Museum in Paris, and by Stefano Zuffi, a well-known art critic;
- the documentations in possession confirms «the authenticity of all the works on show, already exhibited and published in catalog raisonné and on catalogs of other international exhibitions with a plurality of different curators»;
- Palazzo Ducale and MondoMostre Skira «believe the opening of the investigation will be useful» and intend to provide full collaboration to the investigators;
- Palazzo Ducale and MondoMostre Skira are «convinced in the intent to protect their image and their work in all the competent offices», also «to confirm a long exhibition activity widely appreciated» and «have already move their lawyers to proceed judicially». In the coming days - we read - «Professor Chiappini will be present in Genoa to illustrate the choices made».
31/05/2017 We learn the Public Prosecutor's Office has opened a dossier on the alleged fakes of Modigliani displayed in the Genoa's exhibition. The investigation, in the hands of the deputy Prosecutor Paolo D'Ovidio and the Prosecutor Michele Stagno, it is charged to unknow persons and the hypothesized crime is violation of the code of cultural and landscape patrimony. In the next few hours the investigators could also hire an expert to analyze the disputed works to understand if they are authentic or not. We also know that the specialists of Carabinieri, in recent days, went to the Ducal Palace to obtain the documents relating of the works on display, coming from some museums and private collections.
31/05/2017 Italian police investigate organisers of fake Modigliani show - Aired on Tg1 -Tg2
After the charges by Carlo Pepi and Marc Restellini, the Genoa Public Prosecutor's Office opened an investigation against the alleged fake paintings by Modigliani displayed at Palazzo Ducale. At the moment the dossier is against unknown persons. An expert will examine the works.
01/06/2017 On the online magazine Left, a praiseworthy article is published by the art historian and writer Anna Maria Panzera, who well describes the calibre of the two Modigliani experts Carlo Pepi and Marc Restellini, specifying their individual characteristics.
In the same day is announced that will be Mariastella Margozzi, art historian of the Gallery of Modern Art and former director of the Boncompagni Ludovisi Museum, to try to solve the dispute around the doubts about the works indicted. The art expert was commissioned by the Genoa Public Prosecutor's Office which yesterday opened an investigation for violations of the code of cultural heritage. In the next few days, Mariastella Margozzi will begin to study the papers and documentation provided by the Carabinieri of Rome concerning the paintings on which there would be doubts about the authenticity.
04/06/2017 A Facebook user who has followed the affair from the beginning, publishes on his page a post that obtain a great success and many shares. In addition to congratulating with Carlo Pepi and Marc Restellini for the courage shown for denouncing the fake works, the author of this post stresses the fact that the incriminate works don't have the requisites to be exhibited in an important museum such as the Doge's Palace and - he continue - some of these works are accompanied by certificates of authenticity redact by Christian Parisot. He also express a right opinion: without the actions of the two experts, these works would have been produced a considerable 'pedigree' allowing them to be exposed, without problems, in as many important exhibitions.
05/06/2017 Chiappini's reply on Repubblica «Here are the proofs of the authenticity of the works, who accuse us do not have any». Through a press conference, the organizers of the "Modigliani" exhibition at Ducal Palace presented the documentation relating to all the works contested by Carlo Pepi and Marc Restellini. Stefano Zuffi of the scientific committee, the curator Rudy Chiappini, Massimo Vitta Zellman and Luca Borzani have claimed the rigorousness of their work. And Palazzo Ducale reiterates: «We have chosen the most qualified partner to organize the exhibition, Mondomostre Skira, and a curator with an unchallenged profile has been involved». Also on Il Secolo XIX the defense of the Ducal it is reiterated against Pepi and Restellini charges «are all sure attribution to the painter of Livorno», these are the words of Rudy Chiappini and Stefano Zuffi. «We have made "prudential" choices - said Chiappini - we did not want to bring new attributions. Although we have received several reports of important works, unpublished, very beautiful. We have not succumbed to the flattery of presenting new works. We focused on works in catalogs, large exhibitions, books dedicated to Modigliani and expertise that accompanied them. We have entrusted ourselves to the museum community». As regards that some works on display are works by Kisling and not by Modigliani (another Pepi and Restellini's charges), Zuffi explained that «we have put them in a section with a different color from the rest of the exhibition to document the biographical report, personal, friendly between the two artists. In the catalog it is specified that the relationship between the two may have also led to a marginal and small participation of Modigliani in some still lifes of Kisling. For the rest, the two artists have completely different styles». For his part, the president of Mondomostra Skira, Massimo Vitta Zellman, recalled that «we organized 5 exhibitions on Modigliani, including the one at the Vittoriano, we trusted on the opinions of the museum community, the Pompidou in the past and now to Chiappini. I suspect that the anniversary of the artist's death leads to an "agitation" of presumed experts who want to be accredited». Then Vitta Zellman and Chiappini criticized Restellini and Pepi: «The Pinacothèque de Paris of Restellini is an empty space, which was closed 3 years ago», while «Pepi has not published any study. Restellini since 1997 announces that he wants to publish a catalog raisonné, it's been 20 years without reaching concrete results». From all these "counter-deductions" a dossier of 90-pages was born, which was handed over to the Public Prosecutor's Office, as the president of the Palazzo Ducale Foundation, Luca Borzani recalled: «There was a request for information from the Public Prosecutor's Office to which we have replied. We know that a dossier has been opened. We are available». Borzani recalled that the investigation is based on 7 works: «Looking at the sites, every Modigliani exhibition found detractors. But I do not want to put myself on this subject. I want to reiterate that we have opened an exhibition with an important partner and a curator out of the question. The works are in catalogs or exhibited; they are in German, Rome, Turin catalogs». Concerning the contested works, we read the answer of the main curator of the exhibition Rudy Chiappini, who explains, for example, that the provenance of "the red caryatid / Bride and Groom (The Couple)" is known since 1930; in the seventies it was the New York Perls Gallery who donated Modigliani's works to the Metropolitan, and there are also three expertise including that of Anka Zborowska, wife of Léopold Zborowski great maecenas and merchant of Modigliani. The "Portrait of Chaim Soutine" has been exhibited in two exhibitions in Pisa and Turin organized by the Pompidou Center. The famous "Reclining Nude", a portrait of Cèline commissioned by her husband Noel Howard, was in her collection until the 40s, it was exhibited at the Vittoriano and in Bonn and «colors and pigments were even analyzed by a German laboratory».
The online newspaper Il Secolo XIX publish a video of the above mentioned conference where Stefano Zuffi remarks the well-known friendship that joined Modigliani to Kisling and also speaks about the three still lifes attributed also to the artist from Livorno, declaring that «it cannot be excluded that, and an essay and the catalog document put forward this hypothesis that I collected and transferred to the exhibition, that at least in one of these three cases, Modigliani was personally involved in the painting by reproducing on it one of his subjects».
The news is also reported in the online journal Genova24.it and on Mentelocale.it where we find a video interview to Rudy Chiappini who declare that «the logic of the works selecting were absolutely conservative, we have not tried to make new attribution and we have exhibited works with a large history, both in terms of provenance, in terms of exposure and in terms of expertise, for which we are absolutely sure that these works, accepted to date by the international scientific community without any reserve, are absolutely authentic Modigliani». In this video we also see the interview to Stefano Zuffi (Ducale scientific committee), who in addition to the previous video, about the great friendship that linked Modigliani and Kisling, adds that «this human relationship could have brought to a nice, fun, collaboration between the two».
Meanwhile, the news of the presence of fakes begins to circulate beyond the Italian borders, from the United States to Russia, and on 10/06/2017 the French newspaper Le Monde publishes an article about the "suspect on Modigliani". We are now in front of an international scandal.
SUSPECTS ON MODIGLIANI - Jerome GAUTHERET - Correspondent from Rome: The event was launched at the Ducal Palace in Genoa, on March 16th, with great enthusiasm. The Italian press "La Repubblica" talked about "Modigliani Show", while "La Stampa" greeted the son of the homeland who had become a genius in Paris, the "painter who had made himself loved by the beautiful world" - but, in truth, Amedeo Modigliani, who died at age 35, in misery, in 1920, he has not enjoyed in life that of a very limited fame. The major museums, from Antwerp to Paris (Museums Picasso, Beaubourg, l'Orangerie), were lent their works to the event. In short, the exhibition that will last until July 16th, had a very proud gait. Though, for some weeks now, the environment of Italian art has been agitated by a violent controversy, which has led to the opening of an investigation by the Genoa Public Prosecutor's Office. The case was revealed in May by art critic Carlo Pepi. On his Facebook page, he has questioned the authenticity of numerous works on display. In Italy, Pepi is not who knows who: this self-taught collector became known in 1984 for a case passed to posterity with the name of the "hoax of Livorno". For the centenary of the birth of the artist, the town of Livorno had tried to verify a legend: the one that wants the artist to throw some sculptures into the "Fosso Reale" of the city's port. Dragging the bottom of the canal, the agents found three carved heads, immediately attributed to Modigliani. Carlo Pepi raised doubts and, a few days later, three students revealed that they had created one of the works, before a local artist claimed to be the author of the other two. This scandal cost the assignment to the superintendent of the Modern Art Gallery of Rome and to the museum conservator of the city of Livorno. Equipped with undoubted sagacity and an undisputed acquaintance of Modigliani, Pepi today affirms that at least 13 works exhibited in Genoa, or a third of the total, are dubious. He requested the withdrawal of the suspect paintings, but the organizers of the event replied: Rudy Chiappini, member of the management committee of the exhibition has defined the accusations "unfounded and specious" recalling the absence of scientific publications by Carlo Pepi and the shadow of "political elections". The Frenchman Marc Restellini then enters the scene: he claims he has transmitted to the police a dossier to demonstrate the extent of the fraud. This art historian who organized the Modigliani exhibition at the Luxembourg Palace in 2002 is considered as the greatest expert of the artist, has classified 400 of his works - and found 200 fakes. «The organizers has not provided nothing serious pedigree for the thirteen paintings indicted in the Genoa exhibition - he says - what to say about works that appear in the 90s in the catalogs of an expert, Christian Parisot, repeatedly convicted by Justice? The portrait of Soutine... I've had it in my hands: it's a fake. Even the owner knows that. Having regard to the lack of the right to exercise moral rights, the work of the painter is an ideal prey for forgeries. The astronomical quotation of the artist - in 2015, a "Nu couché" was has been awarded for about 160 million euros in New York. When a Modigliani doubt is displayed alongside works of unquestionable pedigree, visitors are cheated, scientific committees cultured failing, but the work acquires an aspect of respectability - a fraud in classic style, whose stakes, with Modigliani, rises to many tens of millions of Euros ..»
12/06/2017 A passionate equipped of a good knowledge on Modigliani, publishes on his Facebook page a graphic elaboration 'genesis of a fake' that highlights the 'strange similarities' between the "Reclining Nude (Céline Howard)" exhibited in Genoa and two original works by Modigliani: "Nude on a white pillow 1917" (oil on canvas 60X92 Staatsgalerie - Stuttgart - Prov. Léopold Zborowski) and the "Lying nude, 'La réveuse'" 1917 (oil on canvas 60X92 Netter Collection - Prov. Léopold Zborowski).
After a Facebook censure for violation of "displaying nudity", the post has been reworked 'by hand' from the author who proceeded to cover the intimate parts in the painting.
15/06/2017 Marc Restellini back to the attack with a statement published on the Institut Restellini Facebook page:
In response to the organizers, in reference to the scandal of the Modigliani case in Genoa. The answers of the organizers of the exposition to the complaint I deposited to the Italian authorities concerning the display of known fakes at the Ducal Palace in Genoa, reveal a true fair of falsehoods. Among the press conferences and the different interviews that I've read on the Italian press, I have to appeal to the following facts: - I have informed the Italian authorities in a significant way by on the basis of scientific indications that attesting the evidence concerning the forgeries. - All the works concerned, at the contrary to what has been said, are not based on ANY ancient documentation and they did not appear, at its best, before 1970. What is declared by the interviewed organizers is absolutely false. None of these works has even the slightest credible, serious, antique documentary trace. And when it exists, it is a question of documentation, in all probability, falsified. - The arguments of the speakers are very dangerous for their defense because everyone knows me perfectly and have had the opportunity to work with me in the past. For some of these works, they perfectly know my position about the authenticity. They can not, starting from the exposition manager and the curator, declare to be not aware of it. In this way, they run a very big risk, demonstrating their collusion with this enormous fraud which consists in exposing and deceiving an audience that does not have the competence to judge what is impose to them even though they must be the guarantors of the integrity and authenticity of the works wich they expose. - The organizers take refuge from participation in exhibitions of French National Museums to validate fake works, giving rise to the idea that the French national institutions would be available to help them validate known fakes. I have, for this reason, informed the French Minister of Culture and will inform, equally and considered the extent of the scandal, the French Public Prosecutor's Office to shed light on these illegal acts. - I remember, however, to the all persons concerned, that I have a judgment of justice of the Court of Appeal of Paris which gives me a right and an important moral obligation as expert, linked to my role and to my knowledge of the artist, of report and take action against fraudulent actions that I get to know about. I was wrong to think that the sentences against the forger Christian PARISOT were enough to disappear the fakes published by him. It was clearly not enough and this is the reason why, in accordance of the judgment, I will request the seizure and destruction of these works and, on the other hand to implement, starting from today, a service of the Restellini Institute whose purpose it will be to put the end to the activity of every institution or individual reputed partner in crime in exposing and spreading fakes Modigliani
16/06/2017 from an article published by Il Giornale, we learn that the Mariastella Margozzi expert appraisal is expected in days. In this article Rudy Chiappini claims that the French expert Marc Restellini: «announces in 2001 that he wants to publish his own catalog raisonné - On 1 January 2015 the Institut Wildenstein in Paris, who had commissioned the assignment, have withdrawn his mandate». We also read that «among the authors of the reference catalogs of Genoa's exhibition there is Christian Parisot. Between the latter and Restellini there is not love at all, and they were protagonists in the past of judicial events about fakes Modigliani».
After reading the exhibition catalog, I decide to reply to Rudy Chiappini who continues to defend his choices trying to discredit Pepi 'accusing' him to not having published a 'scientific publications' on Amedeo Modigliani. In this catalogue I find different imprecisions that I report in my post. I also make sure if the works declared fakes by the two experts Carlo Pepi and Marc Restellini, they have been exhibit in museums of international importance as assured by Rudy Chiappini, on the understanding that a fake remains fake irrespective of the importance of the places, albeit important, in which it was exposed. Taking into exam the catalog of the Prague exhibition in which the "red caryatids" and "the bride and groom" were exhibited for the first time, I immediately realized that in this exhibition there was nothing of 'prestigious'...
Among these works exhibited in Prague in 2011, we find the "portrait of Hanka Zborowska" a work that it bring back to mind the exhibition "When I know your soul I will paint your eyes" inaugurated on November 21, 2015, set up at the Gallery of Modern Art and Contemporary of Arezzo curated by Romano Boriosi and promoted by the cultural association Editebro, in collaboration with the Municipality of Arezzo and the Rosini Gutman Collection. Even before the inauguration, Carlo Pepi pointed that the image shown in the event brochure is a know fake, like «several bronze sculptures that, as is well known, the artist never realized».
19/06/2017 we are facing an astonishing turn of events. Marc Ottavi, official cataloguer of the Kisling works, sends a letter to the Ducal Palace and for knowledge to the Institut Restellini, with which he declares fakes the three still lifes incriminated by Carlo Pepi and Marc Restellini, who had denied the double attribution Modigliani- Kisling as shown in the exhibition catalog.
New turn of events on the scandal of the fakes Modigliani in Genoa.
The institute received a copy of a letter addressed to Ducal Palace by Marc Ottavi - a Kisling expert, of which he prepares the catalog raisonné. He points that the works of Kisling exhibited are also fakes.
Here is the copy.
I leave everyone judge of what is going on.
I received your catalog of the current exhibition of the painter Amedeo Modigliani, Skira edition.
The present exposition of the artist contains paintings attributed to Kisling and Modigliani - Kisling.
I inform you that the numbers 37, 38, 39 do not come from the hand of Kisling, I had warned Christian Parisot for over 3 years that these paintings are fakes.
For your information, the origins are fakes.
The painting n ° 40 does not come from the hand of Kisling, the painting is fake, these works have been reproduced on an illegal publication, published in 2008, and financed by Mr. Joseph Guttmann, watch the video tape:
Therefore I invite you to immediately withdraw the above-mentioned works and notify the owners at the same time.
Waiting for your response, I offer you my best regards.
N.B. The aforementioned paintings will be reported at soon in my Kisling catalog like fake works, both by Modigliani - Kisling, and as fakes Kisling.
N.B. For the number 41 we have no news about the creation in 1932 in the archives of the painter Kisling, it does not appear in the exhibition of Paris in 1937. It appeared for the first time in 2008 in a Tomo 4 pag 292 catalog 11, for the same catalog Joseph Guttmann.
N.B. You can watch the video tape: YouTube: Jean Kisling and Marc Ottavi art business.
In the same day comes the reply of the Ducal Palace published by Il Secolo XIX, where we read: «unfortunately, for Ottavi, however, the Ducal Foundation is able to exhibit through the curator of the exhibition the evidence that the son of Kisling in person, Jean Kisling, without any doubt attributes to his father these works, thanking the author of the catalog for having included them».
The following are reported the certificates of authenticity drawn up by Kisling's son, Jean:
Moïse Kisling 1891-1953 & Amedeo Modigliani 1884-1920 Still life with portrait of Moïse Kisling by Modigliani oil on canvas 74.5 x 84 cm signature on the upper right painted in 1918 provenance Collection S. Shchukin, 1919 Moscow Collection Museum Tratkovia Moscow (on loan ) Coll. priv. USA Coll. priv. Israel Exhibitions Tratkovia Moscow Museum 1920-1922 (on loan) Sanjo Gion Gallery, Moïse Kisling, 2000, cat. n.o 15 Kisling literature published by Jean Kisling, vol IV, 2008, p.313, cat. no. VIII color reproduction
I, the undersigned Jean Kisling, certify that the painting represented on this photo is an authentic work of my father and is an oil on canvas with measures 92x 73 cm signed in the upper right corner, this work was realized in 1926. Paris, 27 October 1999 Jean Kisling
I, the undersign Jean Kisling certify that the painting represented on this photo is an authentic work of my father and is an oil on canvas with measures of 75x 57 cm signed twice lower right, this work was realized in 1912. Paris, 20 August 1991 Jean Kisling This painting will be reproduced in Volume III of the Kisling catalog
Reading these certifications signed by Jean Kisling, we note that is not specified to which work/s they are related, besides this 'small' particular, these certificates can not be considered sufficient proof to establish the authenticity of the works, as well as the certificates drawn up by Jeanne Modigliani for her father's works, some of which are linked to fake works, or those redact by Angela Ceroni on which is better to let’s draw a veil over..
21/06/2017 I publish my opinion concerning the bizarre story of the 'Reclining Nude', the painting in which, the woman portrayed, should be Céline Howard (or so they say), wife of the American sculptor Cecil Howard, putting also doubts about the relative documentation.
22/06/2017 Another heavy blow on the Genoa exhibition. In fact, on the Facebook page of the Institut Restellini, are published 10 documents sent by the expert of Kisling Marc Ottavi to Ducal Palace and for knowledge to Marc Restellini.
Answer about the Modigliani / Kisling scandal.
As I said in my interview, I repeat now here: it is known and public that Jean Kisling from the years 1980-90 no longer had the ability to make the catalog of his father's works. Invoking those certificates and publications as a reference of authenticity is not credible. The official answer of Marc Ottavi sent to the Palazzo Ducale and of which he gave me a copy confirms it if there was still any doubt. Once again, I let everyone judge the maneuvers that are used to not immediately pick up all the disputed works.
A lie repeated ten times is not a truth. An expert error repeated ten times does not make an authentic painting. We are at the heart of the subject, that of fake origins, fake imitations, invented collections designed to deceive families, catalogers, depositaries. In this game of scams, it is necessary to understand that the final purpose of every forger is the commercialization of his production. The first step is to legitimize a forgery based on a provenance, and if possible, difficult to verify. The second step is to invent, subsequently, a transit in a known collection, read prestigious. The third step is to include it (the fake) in several publications. The non plus ultra is the inclusion in the catalog raisonné, and for this reason the forgers are ready to pay for the insertion of the work because the costs of the edition and the press are unrelated compared to the benefit obtained. We are at the fourth stage, the exhibition in a national museum, the most expected and the most important, because it is this that will allow the commercialization, and will subsequently exclude any risk of contestation regarding authenticity. Honest, integral and loving man of his father's work, Jean Kisling, pilot of his profession, today is 95 years old, they have abused of him and convinced with fallacious arguments with the purpose to deceive his eye and his brain, little in front of illicit and forgers qualified to make profit every defect and enjoy taking advantage of every weakness. I will not comment here, actually for a greater possible development, the mediocre style that does not correspond to one or the other of the two artists, wherever the catastrophic pictorial realization of the contested works (Modigliani-Kisling) currently present in the Genoa exhibition. In the error of having rebuilt the atelier of the Via Joseph Bara, the paintings are painted in the foreground to avoid any historical error related to the places. They resume and represent all the jabbering attributed to the two painters: presumed indoor of Kisling with his brushes and stone sculptures or small paintings of Modigliani lost in dignity but which should represent a pictorial reduction of his work. Each of these paintings is arranged in a theatrical, invented and anecdotal way. The interest also comes from the provenances indicated and from the suspicions raised. The paintings 37-38 -39 listed in the catalog as being of the hand of Modigliani and Kisling indicated like produced in 1918, would come from Léopold Zborowski, well-known art dealer. The exhibition catalog indicates that in 1920 or 1922, these paintings they would be part of the Serguei Chtchoukine collection in Moscow. Incredible informations about two prestigious provenances but not based on any evidence. Let us make it clear that none of these paintings was chosen in the exhibition of the Chtchoukine collection, which ended in Paris a few months ago. Unfortunately for the forgers, Serguei Chtchoukine archives were made accessible on the occasion of this Parisian exhibition in 2016. The Chtchoukine collection was acquired in 1918. An inventory was drawn up by the son who was appointed like a conservative by the new government. No painting was acquired by Chtchoukine after 1918, when it was still in Moscow. The provenance and dates indicated are fakes. The disputed paintings having been made in the 1990s, the forgers could not know these details because they were not yet made public. No placement of these paintings can be verified from 1920 to their appearance in 2000 !! An anomaly for paintings of such prestigious provenance and importance while from 2000 to 2017 the exhibitions follow each other. Tokyo 2000, Ancona Caserta 2003, Bari 2003, Taiwan 2011, Brazil 2011-2012, Seoul 2015 and Genova 2017. We note that the five disputed paintings of Genoa, 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 were published (incomplete list) in an illegal work on Moïse Kisling published in 2008 and of which Jean Kisling has publicly requested their destruction (Youtube: Kisling-Ottavi) In pseudo tome IV on Moïse Kisling (illegal) the painting 37 is published on page 314 at n ° 9 (information omitted from Genoa) the 38 is published on page 315 at No. 10 (information omitted from Genoa) the 39 is published on page 313 at No. 8 the 40 is published at page 133 at No. 24 (information omitted from Genoa) . For this painting the origin "Alfred Fleichtheim Dusseldorf" was also omitted as indicated in the illegal work published in 2008, this provenance extensively used by the forger Beltracci. The 41 published on page 292 at No. 11: the information that leads to Volume 3 of the work of Moise Kisling No. 3 page 16 refers to another painting that retract Ingrid and currently represented at 41. This painting n° 41 does not appear in any publication like exhibited in Paris in 1937 (erroneous indication of Genoa that does not specify neither the place nor the publication). In an artistic environment in which falsehood, corruption, ignorance and denial cohabit, my expert opinion is that paintings 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 are fakes that can not be found in a museum. I invite the curators to become aware of it and to remove them from their exposition. It would be an act of courage for them rather than offering additional legitimacy to the fakes. But we do not throw stones to the directors of the Genoa exhibition because they referred to fake documents, difficult to verify and intended to deceive them. Marc Ottavi Author of the reasoned catalog of Moise Kisling T4 and additional to the tomes 1, 2 and 3, currently being completed.
attachments: autograph letter by Jean Kisling concerning the destruction of the work on Moise Kisling of 9 June 2009; letter signed by Jean Kisling concerning the public destruction of the work on Moise Kisling on 20 April 2011; letter signed by Jean Kisling to the experts on 27 September 2012; letter signed by Jean Kisling for the attention of the Chamber of Expert on 9 October 2012; letter signed by Jean Kisling to the attention of the Chambers of Commissioners "Prizeurs" 9 October 2012; letter signed by Jean Kisling and Dominique Kisling-Pichot to the attention of Madam Eliane Houlette, Government Commissioner, dated 18 September 2013.
Not having signed the "ok for the press" for the publication of Volume IV of Moïse Kisling, I ask the Canale typography not to diffuse the work in its current state, which involves numerous errors and this awaiting my corrections Paris, January 9, 2009 Jean Kisling
Ms. Dominique Kisling Pichot Ms. Government Commissioner, I follow up on September 11, 2012, I confirm that Jean Kisling, my father, has been in protection for 5 years. Jean Kisling, born in 1922, has dedicated his whole life to his father's work, the painter Moïse Kisling (1891-1953). He is the origin of the publication of the reasoned catalogs tomo 1 (1971) tomo 2 (1982) and tome 3 (1995). In 2008, while Jean Kisling was placed in compulsory protection (curatelle), a work that claimed to be the result of his work was published without being able to verify the content and that does not guarantee the authenticity of the reproduced works. At the apparition, Jean Kisling found the work (named Tomo IV) involved dubious, contested, and beyond paintings. Taking into account his age and the frequency of solicitations linked to authentications, Jean Kisling wants me, his daughter Dominique Kisling Pichot, to attend future meetings of expertise. We would therefore be grateful to you, Commissioner of the Government, to inform all market operators who request appraisals or confirmations of authenticity that contact the study of the expert Marc Ottavi, 12 rue Rossini 75009, as soon as we entrust him with the task of centralize and define procedures. Thanking you in advance for the attention you want to make to this request, please, Madam The Commissioner of the Government, to appreciate our best regards. Dominique Kisling Pichot / Jean Kisling
Subject: public destruction of the work of Moise Kisling illegally published in 2008.
Thursday May 5, 2011 Jean Kisling, son, person entitled and expert of Moïse Kisling (1891-1953), will publicly destroy at 11 in rue Rossini, 12 (75009) the part in his possession of the work on Moise Kisling having been printed without his agreement and illegally by Canale Edizioni Torino and unduly presented by the latter like Tomo IV of the catalog raisonné of the work of Moïse Kisling. Paris, April 20, 2011 Jean Kisling
Regarding the volume IV of the catalog raisonné of Moïse Kisling, the undersigned Jean Kisling son of the artist, declares that I have not given the license to print this volume to the Canale typography. Observing irregularities and serious errors present in Volume IV, I ask for the destruction of the prints. June 9, 2009 Jean Kisling Document written in the presence of Marc Ottavi and Armand Israel.
To the attention of the gentlemen appraisers.
With this letter I inform you and I wish comunicate to the affiliated appraisers that a work was printed in 2008 with the title "Moïse Kisling tomo IV edited by Jean Kisling Canal Arte Edizioni". This work has been printed without my authorization and without my agreement and reports, among other things, reproductions of paintings that I do not know and that do not come from the hand of Moise Kisling (1891-1953). So please contact me before using this bibliographic reference. I beg you, gentlemen appraisers, to receive my best regards
For the attention of the Chamber of Experts (appraisers).
With this letter I inform you and I wish to inform you to the affiliated appraisers that a work was printed in 2008 with the title "Moise Kisling tomo IV edited by Jean Kisling Canal Arte Edizioni" has been printed without my authorization and without my agreement and involves, among other things, reproductions of paintings that I do not know and that do not come from the hand of Moise Kisling (1891-1953). So please contact me before using this bibliographic reference. I beg you to receive my best regards, gentlemen appraisers.
Paris 9 October 2012
Author of the reasoned catalogs Tomo I II and III
To the attention of the Commissaires Prizeurs.
With this letter I inform you and I wish to inform you to the affiliated appraisers that a work was printed in 2008 with the title "Moise Kisling tomo IV edited by Jean Kisling Canal Art Editions". This work has been printed without my authorization and without my agreement and includes, among other things, reproductions of paintings that I do not know and that do not come from the hand of Moise Kisling (1891-1953). So please contact me before using this bibliographic reference. Dear Sirs, I would like to welcome my best regards Paris 9 October 2012 Author of the catalog raisonné 1,2 and 3 Jean Kisling
The news is reported in an article published by Il Giornale where we find a Restellini's statement in supports to Ottavi, who recalls that for the catalog raisonné of Kisling is at work the niece of the artist's son, and that many fakes are the result of an «abuse» against Jean, now an elderly gentleman.
From Paris, Restellini clarifies his position: «on display there are 7 fake paintings one of which a recto-verso, so they can be considered eight. I felt it my duty to report it to the Italian authorities. But I also doubt about the attribution of another painting and five drawings». Restellini believes that the curator Chiappini could not provide any scientific evidence sufficient because «there is nothing on these works before the '70s. And there are no works even appeared in these years without the slightest previous documentary trace. Modigliani is a much more documented painter than people think, just study». In particular, regarding the Céline Howard's nude: «the only so-called ancient documentation it was been forged, I have the material evidence and am amazed that no one has required me these proofs. If necessary, I will make them public». And about of the portrait of Chaïm Soutine: «the owners commissioned me a complete expertise before this exhibition and my answer was without appeal: it is a fake, black on white. How is it possible to see this work on display a few weeks later?». Until now, Restellini has directed three museums, organized 140 exhibitions including five retrospectives of Modigliani in the world seen by millions of spectators, created The Pinacothèque de Paris, closed in 2016 and for 13 years among the most visited museums in the capital: «I know very well what the responsibility of a museum director in relation, not only to the works, but also to the public to which has the duty to respect and educate. The moral obligation is above all that of not deceiving the public who is not able to judge. In front to the slightest doubt the reaction can be only one: the immediate removal of suspicious works. And it was not done». About the catalog, whose commission according to Rudy Chiappini would have been revoked to me by the Institute Wildenstein: «It is one of those contortions aimed to covering the lack of solid arguments: the catalog is in good health, as well as my relationship with Guy Wildenstein with which we decided to work separately, and will be published within the year». To the question of the journalist who asked him what he intends to do if the authenticity of the works on display were not to be disclaimed, the French expert replied: «I can not even imagine it. But whatever happens I go on, as opposed to Carlo Pepi, I have on my side a different legislation and the French courts. I'll look for those works everywhere and I will make sure that are destroyed, it's not a museum where they must stay».
Meanwhile, a very interesting article "Modigliani: the reasons for an unstoppable success" was written by Gloria Fossi, famous Italian historian of medieval and modern art, writer and journalist who began her career working side by side with Feredico Zeri. To read absolutely!
26/06/2017 On my Facebok page, I publish my consideration about the documentation relative to the "Red Caryatid (recto)" - "The Couple (verso)".
27/06/2017 arrives the preliminary report by the expert Mariastella Margozzi appointed by the Public Prosecutor's Office to resolve any doubt about the authenticity of the works indicted by the two Modigliani experts Pepi - Restellini, to whom Marc Ottavi was added for the 4 works of Kisling, declared fakes by him. According to the expert of the Modern Art Gallery of Rome and former director of the Boncompagni Ludovisi Museum «some works on display would be fake».
The doubts of Margozzi - we read in the article published by Ansa - would be based on the characteristic features of the artist's painting, traits that would be missing or that would not correspond in some paintings in examination. The report it was brought today in Genoa from the Carabinieri of Rome. To resolve any doubt, the Public Prosecutor's Office will appoint in the coming days a super-expert who will examine the paintings. The hypothesis of crime, against unknown persons, is that of a violation of the code of cultural and landscape patrimony, in particular the forgery of works of art.
The news is resumed by Il Secolo XIX that reports a fake news - as will be shown later (*) - we read, in fact, that Restellini would be «a former student of Christian Parisot, the first president of the Modigliani Archives created in France by the daughter of the artist and author of one of the fundamental catalogs from which the organizers of Genoa exhibition have draw on», we also read that «the two have been engaged in a bitter conflict for years, and Parisot had already won a defamation lawsuit against Restellini, who accused him of having exposed fake works by 'Modì' in Venice». In this article, in addition to the usual defense of the organizers of the Genoa exhibition, we read that Margozzi appears as co-author in a catalog together with Marc Restellini; at last, we learn that «Palazzo Ducale refers that every substantive arguments to the curators and awaits with trust the nomination of a super partes expert that will contribute to clarify and to dispel every possible doubt».
(*) In this article - incredibly - we talk about Parisot without saying he was condemned for forgery and fraud in France in 2008 for having put in circulation fake Jeanne Hébuterne works and arrested in 2012 in Italy with the charges of forgery and fraud for diffusion of Modigliani fakes for a value of about 6 million and 650 thousand euros. As regard the Venice exhibition (Marciana National Library), the truth is that: Restellini declared fakes several works at "Marciana library" in 2005 and, later, he won the lawsuit against Parisot in front to the French Court: exactly for this reason he received the authorization power to judge the Modigliani's work. The rumor that Restellini was a former student of Parisot comes precisely from the Venice exhibition (read this article).
The only 'relationship' between the two dates back to 1989, when Marc Restellini organized an exhibition - (Portraits and Landscapes of Zborowski) Paris, Carrefour Vavin 1989 - and, thinking that Parisot held the moral rights on the Modigliani works, he felt obliged to ask his consent. Parisot granted him this license, asking in exchange to writing the text of the catalog, adding in the exhibition 10 drawings that he assured were authentic, but when Restellini saw these works, he understood they were not. It was a mistake for Marc Restellini, but he was young and did not know the 'character', and also he had the opportunity to exhibit his grandfather's paintings, the painter Antcher. Another important thing to stress is that at the time, Marc Restellini was a professor of art history at the Université Paris-Sorbonne, while Parisot was as a professor of art and design at School of Visual Art in Orléans, so it is more likely to assume Parisot was student of Restellini ..
Looking at the catalog of Venice exhibition, I agree with Restellini. In addition to several works that I don't consider authentic, and others that are without doubts fakes such as a bronze sculpture and a blue pencil drawing signed "Dedo" with dedication to his brother "Menè" (no one Modigliani works was recovered by his family), works seized during the arrest of Parisot (investigation started after the exhibition "Amedeo Modigliani - the portraits of the soul" set up in Castel Urbino of Catania where there was exposed an unpublished "portrait of Sant'Agata" declared fake by Carlo Pepi along with other works), there are also reported historical mistakes with the intent to imagine Modigliani in Sardinia, with the usual purpose to 'churn out' other fakes, such as the portrait of Medea Taci absurdly attributed to the poor Modigliani.
Regarding the "impeachment hearings" directed to Mariastella Margozzi, for "not to be super partes" cause she turn out like a co-author of a publication together with Restellini, it's about the catalog ("MARC RESTELLINI: Modigliani: The Melancholy Angel") published by Skira in the occasion of the exhibition organized by the City of Milan (Real Palace) in 2003 with ArtificioSkira, an event followed to the exhibition at the Musée du Luxembourg of Paris promoted by the French Senate, both cured by the French expert. For the record, always with Skira, the consultant appointed by the Public Prosecutor's Office has published two other volumes: "Mario Sironi - L'Italia illustrata" e "I costruttori: il corpo del lavoro in cento anni di arte italiana" - just to say that the links, if we want, existed on both sides as often happens in the art world and. For last is not possible to deal with Modigliani without meeting on this path Marc Restellini.
Carlo Pepi congratulates Mariastella Margozzi for having recognizing the presence of fake works in the exhibition, emphasising the fact that he has indicated only the unquestionable fakes, leaving aside those dubious, although he is convinced they don't coming from the artist's hand.
30/06/2017 the Ansa agency announces that the deputy Prosecutor Paolo D'Ovidio has appointed Isabella Quattrocchi, the expert which revealed that some of the paintings owned by Massimo Carminati (ex Nar) were fake. The professor will examine the paintings displayed at the Ducal Palace. We also know that in the day before the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage brought the Mariastella Margozzi's report to the Genoa's Public Prosecutor's Office. Then, through Il Secolo XIX, we read that Isabella Quattrocchi's expertise report should arrive in a few weeks.
Now the question is: will arrive before the exhibition closes? This is the same question of Carlo Pepi on 6/07/2017:
About Livorno, Francesco Belais, the city councillor with responsibility for cultural, on 11/07/2017 sends a letter to the Doge's Palace to request the restitution of the works on loan. Article 12/07/2017
The answer of the Ducal Place published on Il Telegrafo on 13/07/2017 is a dry no, released from the mouth of Piero Da Passano, director of the Culture Foundation of Ducale who, in addition to defending Chiappini's choices, declare that «both Margozzi and Quattrocchi are, in any case, expert consultants appointed by the party and the final decision is in the hands of the magistrate». About the reason of the refusal, he explains that «to move the paintings is not so simple. This is the assignment of the Superintendent and the customhouse. The appointment for their withdrawal it will be after the conclusion of the exhibition on the 16th, from 3 days. If we accept the withdrawal of the three works, it would be like confirming doubts about the authenticity of others. A real slap, in the presence of other eminent museums even American (with respect for the Fattori's Museum of Livorno) that await the word of the magistrates».
Two days before the Genoa exhibition closing, Friday 14/07/2017, the agency Ansa communicates the news «three persons under investigation and 21 works seized in the investigation of the Genoa Public Prosecutor's Office on alleged fakes exposed in the Modigliani exhibition». The news quickly spreads on the internet. From the site of the Tg24 of Sky we read that the deputy Prosecutor Paolo D'Ovidio and the Prosecutor, Michele Stagno, ordered the seizure of the 21 works, - operation took place on June 13th at 11 pm - half of the exhibited works, so to allow a series of scientific expertise that will be performed by next week. Among the tests that will be executed, it is also expected the paint sample testing on the works for the analysis of the pigments that will allow to trace it back to the correct dating of the indicted work.
It has been confirmed that three people are under investigation with the charges of forgery in art and fraud, among them also the curator of the exhibition, Rudy Chiappini. Ducal Palace - we read in a note published by Il Secolo XIX - has decided to close the Modigliani exhibition today. «In view of the investigations currently being, it chooses autonomously for the respect of the visitors to bring forward of three days the conclusion of the exhibition, which therefore will no longer be open to visitors from today». The Genoa's institution declares itself injured party. «Ducal Palace remarks to have not organized the exhibition directly, having commissioned the production and selection of the works to a prestigious national and international partner such as MondoMostre Skira».
This is the list of the 21 works seized published by Il Secolo XIX (the works would be 22 because "Red Caryatid" and "The Bride and Groom" are considered like a single work):
Works attributed to Modigliani:
Head Sculpture, 1910-11, Black grease pencil on paper; Red Caryatid - The Bride and Groom, 1913, oil on canvas; Portrait of Conrad Moricand, 1915, oil on canvas; Portrait of Jean Cocteau, 1916, pencil on paper; Portrait of Chaim Soutine, 1917, oil on canvas; Cariatide à genoux, 1913 circa, pencil and gouache on paper; Seated nude, 1913-1914, pencil and blue watercolor on paper; Caryatid, 1914, tempera on paper Reclining Nude (Portrait of Cèline Howard), 1918 circa, oil on canvas; Portrait of Moise Kisling, 1916, pencil on paper; Head of woman (Portrait of Hanka Zborowska?), 1917, oil on canvas; Head of Red-haired Woman, 1915, oil on canvas; Seated Nude, 1916 circa, pencil on paper; Female portrait (La femme aux macarons), 1917, oil on canvas; Portrait of Maria, 1918 circa, oil on cartoon.
Works attributed to Kisling: Madame Hanka Zborowska in the atelier, 1912 circa, oil on canvas; The Atelier of Moise Kisling , 1918 ca.; The Atelier of Moise Kisling, 1918 ca.; Still-life painting with portrait, 1918 circa, oil on canvas; Seated young woman , Kiki, 1924 - 26 circa, oil on canvas; Large reclining nude (Portrait of Ingrid), 1929-1932 circa oil on canvas.
15/07/2017 the news of the seizure of 21/22 works on show in Genoa, is reported by all the national newspapers and TG.
16/07/2017 from Repubblica we learn that, in addition to the crime of diffusion of fake works of art, a new hypothesis of crime was born "fraud against Ducal Palace" for the curators of the Genoa exhibition. In addition to the main curator Rudy Chiappini, we get to know the names of the other two under investigation: Massimo Vitta Zelman (president of MondoMostre Skira), and Joseph Guttmann (art dealer, owner of some paintings on display).
The news about the fraud against the Foundation is confirmed, together with the other inquiry, relative to the article 178 of the Code of the Cultural and Landscape Heritage. «We could not shut our eyes, there are two expert reports - explains the chief Public Prosecutor Francesco Cozzi - the first of Mariastella Margozzi, art historian and official of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the second of Isabella Quattrocchi, our consultant». «Beyond the doubts, however, need certainty - states the chief Public Prosecutor - so specific examinations must be carried out, such as the analysis of the chromatic aspects and the materials used. To get them, we needed the paintings to avoid that the works were taken away. The seizures were needed to prevent the works could finish in another exhibition: "on one side to protect the good faith of the visitors, on the other to guarantee the genuineness of the artistic and cultural heritage". Otherwise - continues Cozzi - the role of the Italian magistracy becomes ineffective. Moreover - he underlines - a fake work is authenticated when it is shown in an exhibition, and its value increases».
18/07/2017 On Il Secolo XIX the names of the accusers and accused are reported, among whom we read the name of Joseph Guttmann, already quoted by Marc Ottavi in the documentation he sent to Ducal Place and for knowledge to Marc Restellini, regarding the authenticity of some paintings attributed to Moïse Kisling. This article expresses the suspicion that the American art dealer, owner of several works on show in Genoa, has used prestigious stages such as Ducal Palace to accredit his paintings as authentic and increase their market value. As reported in this article, the name of Joseph Guttmann is linked to a clamorous case (reported on the New York Times) of a stolen Picasso (replaced by a forgery), which then reappeared from Sotheby's in 1991, brought by the same art dealer to get an evaluation. At last, in this article is mentioned a letter written by another American art dealer, Paul Quatrochi, through which he apologized to Guttman for accusing him for the theft of a Modigliani painting "Nu couché (portrait of Céline Howard)".
The news of the seizure of the works, is published all over the world: The Telegraph, El País, New York Times, France24, France Inter, Herald Tribune, Le Point, elperiodico, elnacional, tgcom24, El Norte,Ticino News, Sputniknew, architecturaldigest, boingboing.net, stravizzi.it, lindro.it, www.swr3.de, hyperallergic.com, RTV Slovenija, news.artintern, vesti.ru, chuansong, collection.sina.cn, tass.ru, ria.ru, expointhecity, newsoftheartworld, esquire.ru, perta.ru, mk.ru, russian.rt, abc.es, eluniversal, sevilla.abc, elnuevopais, paneuropeannetworks, artmarketmonitor
17/07/2017 the news of the seizure of the 21 works and the relative early closure of the Genoa exhibition, is transmitted by Agorà on RAI 3. The correspondent Simone Carolei also traces the story of "the hoax of Livorno", interviewing Carlo Pepi the only expert who in 1984 questioned the authenticity of the three stones "fished" in the canals of Livorno, and in the end he was right.
18/07/2017 from Repubblica (Genoa): The three suspects in the investigation of alleged Modigliani fakes (Rudy Chiappini, Massimo Vitta Zelmann and Joseph Guttmann), will be questioned by the Prosecutor Michele Stagno and the deputy Prosecutor Paolo D'Ovidio. The investigation by the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage concerns for the crimes of aggravated fraud, diffusion of fake works of art, and laundering.
Before the interrogations, however, the prosecutors want to wait for the technical-scientific investigations on the works, so much so that the Public Prosecutor's Office formally commissioned two French scientific experts. The judiciary experts will perform the paint sample testing on the works to analyze the pigments and the materials used, to understand if they are compatible with those used by the painter from Livorno.
22/07/2017 comes out an article in Le Monde that well describes the direction and the extent that have taken the investigations.
Inappropriate works 'by Modigliani' exhibited in Genoa
Rome - The Correspondent
- The Justice seize 21 works of an exhibition at the Ducal Palace, suspected to be fakes.
«It's crazy: listen, many of these paintings are so horrible that I would not hang an the wall in my living room!» The Tuscan collector Carlo Pepi does not calm down. For many months, he had alerted the Italian authorities to the presence of fakes, placed side by side with the masterpieces from all over the major museums of the world, in the exhibition of Modigliani, opened March 16 in the Doge's Palace in Genoa. Two months after his charges to the Roman Magistrates, the Carabinieri entered into action. On the evening of July 13, three days before the theoretical term, the event was closed. For the hundreds of thousands of deceived visitors, the evil has been accomplished. Above all, it is necessary to ensure that the paintings do not vanish into thin air, before we must proceed with the scientific analysis that will be made in the next few weeks.
- “The hoax of Livorno”
In total there are no less than twenty-one of the fifty works on display that have been placed under seizure waiting the scientific expertise. Most of the indicted paintings are believed to be of the hand of Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920), others attributed to his friend Moïse Kisling (1891-1953). To several tens of millions of euro on canvas - authentic - the exhibition could in fact have unmasked an attempt of fraud with a dizzying extent. At the beginning. There is a certain man, Carlo Pepi, who denounced in May, through a Facebook message, the presence in Genoa of at least 13 fakes. An acknowledged expert, but perfect self-taught, this frank fighter, now in his eighties, had made himself known by the Italian public in 1984, not falling into a trap that has remained famous with the name of "the hoax of Livorno". A history that has remained in the record books: for the hundredth anniversary of the artist's birth, the municipality of his hometown had announced the desire to dredge a canal that crosses the city, looking for sculptures, whose local legend told that the artist had thrown into the water of the canal in 1909, in an evening of discouragement. The research had led to the discovery of three heads, immediately accepted as masterpieces by art critics and museum directors. A few days later, three students, with a local artist, claimed to be the authors of the joke, demonstrating live on television. The scandal that ensued lad the role of the director of the Museum of Modern Art of Rome, sparking a storm in the world of Italian experts - as well as a certain hilarity in the entire country. How did Carlo Pepi perceive that day, only against everyone, what all the colleagues refused to admit? And how, thirty years later, seems to have once again seen right? Counting on his intuition, he ensures. «No I have university diplomas, but I have studied all my life", - he explains - "The Modigliani trait is very simple, so it is easy to reproduce, but it is not what it appears. His genius is to penetrate inside to the interiority of his models. This is what the forgers will never be able to do».
- Participating in a large exhibition allows to reinforce the pedigree of dubious works.
If the empirical method had, in the past, given indisputable results, it would not have been enough to triggered an investigation. Initially, the curator of the exhibition, Rudy Chiappini has, moreover, defended himself emphasising the absence of scientific publications by Carlo Pepi. He also pointed out that many works, like a portrait of Soutine, had been exhibited in Pisa, in an exhibition organized by the Pompidou Center, and that Pepi had not said anything at the time. And here comes another expert, the French Marc Restellini, former director of the Pinacothèque de Paris and organizer, in the past, of many exhibitions dedicated to the artist from Livorno, the best known at the Luxembourg Palace, in Paris, in 2002. He is considered as the greatest specialist of Modigliani, and he works for years to the authentication of all Modigliani works, on science-based study of the tract, samples of paint used ... A titanic stain: Modigliani died leaving his legacy to a daughter natural of just a year, without a true inventory of his works could be established. Concerning the works on display at the Genoa exhibition, Marc Restellini is categorical: «I had in my hands many of the indicted works. For the portrait of Soutine, I wrote a certificate of fake before the exhibition, even its owner also knows!"
- Already condemned for fakes
And he tells his researches: «When I started to look carefully the exhibition I came into contact with an expert on the work of Moïse Kisling, of which several canvases were on display in Genoa. He assured me that those canvases were known fakes and belonged to an American art dealer: Joseph Guttmann. So the whole story became clear: in recent years this character appeared as a member of a Italian expert: Christian Parisot, who had arrogated the moral right on Modigliani and later condemned with imprisonment several times for forgery». Three people are now the object of an investigation in Italy: the curator Rudy Chiappini, Massimo Vitta Zelmann, president of the company Mondo Mostre Skira, organizer of the exhibition, and the art dealer Joseph Guttmann, owner of several incriminated works (four Kisling and at least as many Modigliani) Palazzo Ducale declares itself in good faith.
- The Genoa exhibition may have brought to light a dizzying fraud attempt.
In a press release, the Museum states that the impeccable reputation of Skira Exhibitions as well as the references of Chiappini, "director of the Lugano Art Museum for twenty years" and "organizer of numerous international exhibitions, including those on Modigliani". Justifications difficult to believe for Marc Restellini. From the investigations in progress results that the Genoa exhibition it cost only € 150,000. «Consider that - explains the French expert - an exhibition by Modigliani requires huge cost: considering the value of the paintings, the insurance, all this involves millions of Euros. These costs are not possible, they should have suspected that there was a problem, and that there was someone who paid. For example the owners who take part in a large exhibition to reinforce the pedigree of dubious works ... Joseph Guttmann is trying to sell the Reclining Nude (Portrait of Céline Howard) shown in Genoa, points out Marc Restellini. This work was proposed on sales catalogs for 28 million euros, and after the Genoa exhibition, its value has increased to 32 ...»
This affair is very harmful for collectors who have lent their works in good faith, and that now fear to see the authenticity of their works questioned. It is also embarrassing for all the museums, in particular the French, that have lent their paintings, indirectly participating to endorsing the authenticity of the fakes. Until now, none of the institutions, not even the French Ministry of Culture, despite alerted by Marc Restellini, has reacted to the developments on the instance.
Summary of the interview with Marc Restellini aired on France24:
«We are facing a mafia network, there are peoples who expose these fakes to legitimize them. It's a scandal, it's a fraud. The pseudo specialist I was talking about has disappeared from circulation (the reference to Parisot is evident) and has been replaced by a museum curator who continue his old job. And it is very dangerous because the purpose is very simple: put fake works on the market legitimizing, and give them millionaire values with the purpose of selling, and it is inadmissible that national museums lend themselves to these frauds, and what astonish me most, having directed a certain number of museums, it is knowing that there is an audience that goes to exhibitions and is deceived from whom, instead, should educate them. They come thinking to admire real artworks, but they see only fakes». Marc Restellini
25/07/2017 Il Secolo XIX, publishes an interview to Marc Restellini, who points out what already explained to the journalist of Le Monde and, speaking of the 'Reclining Nude (Portrait of Celine Howard)', declares that «it was enough to include in the Palazzo Ducale catalog the "Reclining Nude (Portrait of Celine Howard)", that the work, for sale at 28 million euros, was offered to various art dealers for 32 million euros». We also read a statement about the scenarios that might occur if the painting should be considered fake: from 32 million euro to zero. In fact, if the Prosecutors could prove the existence of an international fraud, he could order the immediate destruction of the fakes, a promise that Restellini, already heard by the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, has delivered to whom in recent years has provided expertise on many of the contested paintings, or rather Christian Parisot, president of the Modigliani Archives (arrested in 2013 for an affair of alleged fakes), which Restellini had denounced for a similar event some years ago: «I will destroy all the fakes. It is a moral duty for me. I want to emphasize that it is a lie that I lost a lawsuit against Parisot for defamation: I was right...» The hypothesis of the deputy Prosecutor Paolo D'Ovidio and the Prosecutor Michele Stagno is that the Genoa exhibition has been opportunistically exploited as a stage from a group of people, to support paintings of dubious origin. Who knew, if it was so? For now, the subjects under investigation are the collector Joseph Guttmann, an American magnate, owner of several paintings under seizure (assisted by Massimo Boggio), the organizer of the exhibition Massimo Vitta Zelman and the curator Rudy Chiappini. «In Turin and Genoa, was shown a “Ritratto di Soutine” completely different from the one exhibited in Milan by Marc Restellini - states in a note the homonymous Institut Restellini - in Turin they cited the Restellini's catalog, changing the images alongside, with the clear intention of cheat the reader and to legitimize this forgery. In the Genoa catalog, on page 105, the same error is repeated, claiming that the copy appeared in Lausanne and Milan. This is also false». Then there is a detail acquired by the investigators as an important clue: «the owners of the "Portrait of Soutine" exhibited in Genoa asked me for an expertise before the exhibition, I said clearly that the work was fake: so they knew that, but they exposed it anyway». To complicate the matter is added the counteroffensive of the pool of lawyers who assisted the owners of the paintings. Yesterday the lawyer Cesare Dal Maso, specialized in investigations on the art world, has accused the appraisal of the Public Prosecutor's Office, who ordered the removal of pigments from the seized works: «If the paintings are genuine, it would be a millionaire damage, moreover, in the absence of the consultant of the parties». Ducal Palace, defended by Cesare Manzitti, ask to be able to move the paintings seized to carry out the renovation work.
02/08/2017 from Liguria Notizie.it: The Public Prosecutor's Office has given the green light to move from Palazzo Ducale the 21 works seized. Ducal Foundation itself asked for the move due to a malfunction of the air conditioning system, which could damaged the paintings. The works will be transferred next week to the Art Defender Center in Bologna.
07/08/2017 Artnet, a prestigious information platform dedicated to the art market, publishes an excellent article which explaining what's behind the market of one of the most faked artists in the world, with some excellent consideration about the catalogs considered 'incontrovertible', on the new authentication techniques, and reporting " the Restellini solution" to stop this continuous proliferation of fakes, that is to say the destruction of them.
31/08/2017 the Institut Restellini publishes a statement:
After Italy, with the replacement of the President of Palazzo Ducale in Genoa and the investigation of the three protagonists of the exposition on the case of the fakes Modigliani, Switzerland seems to have become aware of the vastness of the scandal. Only Paris remains silent in front of this situation. However, the implication of French museums it was clearly emphasize by the organizers under investigation who continue to defend the legitimacy of the fakes thanks to the presence in the exhibition of works from national museums. Once again, is it the role of national museums to legitimize known fakes? I have written to the Minister of Culture for over three months, and only a culpable silence reigns over this scandal in Paris.
The affair of the fakes Modigliani is politicised in Ticino
The socialists questioned the Locarno executive about his head of cultural services. He is under investigation about alleged forgeries. Manager of the cultural services of the city of Locarno, Rudy Chiappini was the subject of a parliamentary question by the socialists to the city council last Friday. Since mid-July, he is in fact under investigation by the Public Prosecutor's Office for the crime of «forgery, receiving stolen property and fraud».
This is part of a case of art forgery that could turn out like «one of the biggest fraud in the recent history of museums», according to several experts. In addition, his activity at the Cultural Heritage of Locarno, Rudy Chiappini, who managing the Museum of Modern Art in Lugano for almost 20 years, organizes international events abroad. He is the curator of an exhibition dedicated to the artist Amedeo Modigliani, held at the Doge's Palace in Genoa between last March and July, which he finds himself investigated by Italian justice.
He was denounced by two experts of Modigliani, the Italian collector Carlo Pepi and the French art historian Marc Restellini, which they declared this exhibition full of fakes - 21 paintings were seized on the fifty works on display. The institution of Ducal Palace - which claims to be injured in this case and remembers to not having organized the exhibition directly - was forced to conclude the event three days earlier than planned.
After hearing Rudy Chiappini, the executive of Locarno, without entering into the pending investigation, said through the media that «he has always been a source of great satisfaction, showing a maximum of professionalism, competence and seriousness» like a director of cultural services. The cultural manager of Locarno defends himself from the charges of exposing fakes, affirming that all the works in question are certified and they have a documented history. The municipal authorities also hold that for the moment, the current investigation does not put in question his mandate with the City. Perplexed, the Locarno Socialist Party believes that the government is ready to publicly demonstrate their support to Rudy Chiappini. «He is under investigation for forgery, receiving stolen property and fraud, and it's not nothing» said Pier Mellini, council leader of the city, «maybe he's acquitted, or maybe not». The executive would have to wait before to expressing judgments. The socialists of Locarno leave to the Italian justice the task of determining the role of Rudy Chiappini in the scandal that shakes the art world. In a parliamentary act submitted Friday, they nevertheless question the executive on the risks that the city faces, in the perspective of future collaborations with Swiss and foreign entities, to see his image tainted by this case. The socialists refer to the management of the department of Rudy Chiappini. In support of this, they argue that the recent demonstrations held at Locarno took place with little success both in terms of visitors. They asked if the 80% responsibility for cultural services is compatible with its international activities.
While the Genoa exhibition took place, Rudy Chiappini also participated for the Fernando Botero's work at the Museum of Vittoriano in Rome, and Robert Indiana at the Rusca House in Locarno, as well as in the production of their respective catalogs. When the Modigliani scandal erupted, the officer of the Locarno culture, defended himself on the Ticino's press about supposed forgery, claiming that all the works in question were certified and had a well-documented history recognized by the international scientific community. Marc Restellini, founder of the Restellini Institute for Scientific Research and Documentary in the History of Art, firmly refutes on his Facebook account. «Famous fake works has been exposed in Genoa; we have provided the Italian authorities with documentation and scientific evidence to proving it». The two other people who collaborated with Rudy Chiappini in the realization of the Genoa exhibition and the selection of works - Massimo Vitta Zelman, President of MondoMostre Skira, and the art dealer Joseph Guttmann, owner of several of the suspect paintings - are also indicted.
07/09/2017 Il Corriere della Sera published an article where is reported the judgment of the art historian Maristella Margozzi which supports the opinions expressed by the two Modigliani's expert, Marc Restellini and Carlo Pepi. Comes out the key documents of the investigation, that is to say the Margozzi expertise report. In summary, three are the works declared fakes: the «Red Caryatid», which arrives in Genoa from a private collector of San Francisco, the «Reclining Nude (Céline Howard)», loaned by a Swiss collector, and the «Portrait of Maria» from an American private collector, transited through Global art exhibitions. «The forgeries are quite evident in these cases - concludes the expert -. The works seem copied». For the others three paintings, with double attribution (Modigliani - Kisling), the «signature of the artist from Livorno results fake. «I fully agree with Pepi and Restellini: there isn't the Modigliani's intervention». Then, there are 9 «strongly dubious». Among the «suspects», there is also the «Portrait of Hanka Zborowska», submitted to the state protection with a constraint dating back to 1972. «However, I have some doubts on it», suspected Margozzi. About the remaining paintings, the opinions are not univocal and therefore doubts remain. One thing is clear: if they are really fakes, means that many Modigliani exhibitions shall be considered as fraudulent: Pisa, Turin, Rome, Milan, Venice, Seoul, etc. Thus confirming the bitter conclusion that Modigliani is one of the greatest and most loved painters of the twentieth century, but he is also the most forged. There are immense interests at stake, which could rise in view of 2020, the centenary of his death. It will be a year of events and money, reason for which a certain tension is weighing on the investigation. Behind the scenes, the ghost of Christian Gregori Parisot, former president of the Modigliani Archives, collaborates with the daughter of the artist.
«Initially, Gutmann used Parisot to legitimize the Modigliani works - as reported by Restellini to the investigators - when he was arrested, Guttmann replaced him with Rudy Chiappini». Heard by the investigators, Chiappini rejected the accusations: «All the paintings on display in Genoa were chosen by us because we knew their history. I remember that Modigliani often painted two paintings with the same subject with different details. These are not fakes, but distinct works». In the meantime, the deputy Prosecutor Paolo D'Ovidio has arranged a consultation assigning three other experts, who will conclude the work later on. Today there is the first meeting in front to the Genoa Court of Review, to which the lawyers Massimo Boggio and Cesare Dal Maso will ask the release of most of the works. The impression is that the war on Modì is only at the first shots of cannon.
08/09/2017 the online journal Genova24 resumes the news published by Il Corriere della Sera, adding new details: «fame and money would come from the legitimation of fakes through the organization of exhibitions». This is the charge moved by Marc Restellini. The french art historian points the finger against Guttmann and Christian Parisot: «To organize an exhibition - Restellini said in the report of Carabinieri - it takes an investment of 5-6 mln. The exhibition of Genoa has cost 150,000 euro, this is the demonstration that the gains don't come from the exhibitions, but through the legitimation of fake works ... When I organized the exhibition of Modigliani in Lugano - said Restellini - Chiappini forced me to accept cash. I accepted, but when I placed in bank, I declare their origins».
11/09/2017 «Genoa, the seizure of the suspected paintings by Modigliani - Kisling is confirmed». This is the title of an article published by Repubblica where we read that the Review Commission confirm the seizure of the 21 paintings of the Modigliani exhibition at Ducal Palace. The judges - source: Il Secolo XIX - essentially have accepted the thesis of the Public Prosecutor's Office: the scientific tests on the dating of the works is almost over and there'd be no danger for the integrity of the paintings, because «the most invasive technique is limited to taking samples (fractions of a millimeter of pigment of the canvas in the area covered by the frame)». The prompt reply of one of the owner's lawyer:
«I take note of the insufficient statement of reasons of the Review Commission. I was hoping for a further development. It seems that the choice made it is the way most obvious and less brave.
We will evaluate whether to appeal to the Supreme Court».
06/10/2017 Marc Restellini interviewed by the Franco - German ARTE Journal:
How do you make a fake Modigliani?
MR: "The classic way is the patchwork (collage): take three or four paintings by Modigliani and take a piece of one and the other and mix them so you get a forgery, that is a fake, which incorporates different elements of the paintings of the artist."
Last July at Palazzo Ducale in Genoa the Modigliani's exhibition ended in a catastrophe: a third of the collection, that is to say 21 paintings, would be fakes.
MR: "When a curator makes a couple of mistakes ... why not ... But finding yourself with such a quantity of fakes in an exhibition, one wonders why ... The aim is quite simple: to create legitimacy to fake paintings by exposing them .. We have this 'famous nude' [Céline Howard] of which we see that it is a reproduction of several existing elements. Take the exact position of the model ... take a pillow of one picture and put it in another, sold for 180 million, then you have a face and take the head of another .... so you make a fake ... "
Modigliani apparently easy to imitate is quoted like a Picasso and Van Gogh, but it is not the only standard for the forgers..
MR: "Modigliani today is not protected by someone who holds the moral right that can say: I place bans or authorize .. I do this .. it is very important to realize this because the absence of moral rights has probably generated the amount of forgers, that is to say a forger who sees an artist who is not protected and says .. if I paint a fake nobody can attack me .. Done!
Recently Marc Restellini has the authority to fight the forgers and will soon publish a reasoned catalog of the artist that may well represent the end of the golden age of the fakes ...
11/11/2017 Amedeo Modigliani is celebrated trough three important exhibitions: at the Jewish Museum of New York, in London at the Tate Modern (review by Gloria Fossi for Youmanis) and at the Fabergé Musuem in Saint Petersburg where Marc Restellini will curate the exhibition with the artworks coming from the Jonas Netter Collection. Matthew Clayfield, journalist for the website The Daily Beast, taking a cue from these events to remember how much the Genoa scandal has made a further contribution to raise doubts about the authenticity of the works attributed to Modigliani and it has also invited the curators to exercise more caution on the selection of the works to exhibit. It is also reported an interview to Carlo Pepi, who reminded that «in February, I received through Facebook the image of the nude painting present in the exhibition that I immediately recognized as fake. «Then, another painting appeared online and I saw that it was fake too. Later I saw the catalog and I realized that there were only a few authentic works on display». Even before he saw the catalog, Pepi had suspicions about the exhibition: «the curator of the exposition, Rudy Chiappini, has long been associated with the controversial scholar of Modigliani Christian Parisot, who claims to have received moral rights on the works of Modigliani from the daughter of the artist before her death in the 80s».
In 2010 - as reported in the article -, the French court of appeal condemned Parisot to a two-year suspended sentence and inflicting him a fine of 50,000 euros to having fraudulently attributed 77 works to Jeanne Hébuterne. Two years later, he was again in front of the Italian court following a two-year investigation conducted by the Italian anti-fraud team, charged to having inappropriately certified 41 sketches, 13 graphic drawings, four sculptures and an oil painting, all attributed to Modigliani. «Chiappini has never distanced from Parisot» says Pepi. . «This is the reason why, when I heard about the Genoa exhibition, I was alarmed» (Chiappini did not answer the questions in this interview).
Pepi used Facebook to denounce the show, focusing on what he considered to be the 13 most obvious forgery. They immediately tried to discredit him with threats to begin legal actions. And at this point that Marc Restellini, founder of the Restellini Institute, who is working on a new raisonné catalog of the artist's works, enters in the scene. Restellini has ordered a copy of the exhibition catalog "to judge the extent of the problem". «I was amazed by the number of fakes» says Restellini. «When Pepi was attacked by the organizers with threats of defamation, I intervened. Given my legal rights on Modigliani 's work - Restellini has been given the right to denounce the fakes by a French Court of appeal in a judgment of 2005 - for the organizers I represented a subject much more inconvenient to threaten with legal actions» (not that the legal threats would have discouraged him a lot: Restellini received death threats for his work in the past).
We also read that in 2011, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts of Moscow was accused of exposing a fake of Modigliani during the exhibition "School of Paris: 1905-32". The painting in question, "Portrait of Marevna", had previously been exhibited both in Paris and in Prague without incident. Marc Restellini emphasises that the reason of the proliferation of fake works is due to the fact that the artist is considered from many people to be easy to imitate: «It is not true» - says Restellini - «it gives an impression to be ease, but this is deceptive» and continues «it is simply too difficult to find the materials that Modigliani would have used a hundred years ago. In fact, it was a scientific test, commissioned by an anonymous Russian collector, who revealed the portrait of Marevna as a forgery». «After 40 days, I received an evaluation from the Institute that indicated that some of the pigments used in this painting were synthetic, produced after 1940», told the collector at the time to Artlyst. This is quite impressive considering that Modigliani died in 1920..
In this article, specific questions are asked to Carlo Pepi: «there is a competence crisis?? Are the forgers simply improving their 'work'? Or are merchants, collectors and curators to allow them to believe in a source of previously unknown works to be relegated to their judgment» Pepi believes it is a combination of all these things: «These fakes appears in large exhibitions due to a complete critical absence judgment» he says. «The curators must to be competent and honest, two qualities that are too rare especially if these are considered combined». «But there are also professors, critics and insiders - people with "eye" - whose only purpose is to sell the work» concludes Pepi.
Restellini agrees that the lack of skills, together with the unchanging idea that could be discovered a 'hidden treasure', plays an important role in such scandals. «Unfortunately, there are many judgments that lead people to lose all reason and they persuade themselves that embarrassing work could be an authentic Modigliani». However, regarding the case of Genoa, he believes that there was something of dark, almost "mobster" by the way it was organized, deliberately, to deceive. In this interview, with regard to the catalogue raisonné Modigliani, Marc Restellini announces that it will represent a turning-point in the Modigliani studio. «The condemnation of Parisot gave me hope that the fakes would disappears from circulation,» says the French art historian Marc Restellini. «This was not the case, unfortunately, but I'm sure the catalog will bring the end to this madness».
22/12/2017 Marc Restellini interviewed by Le Monde:
Marc Restellini: "Is this the role of French museums to legitimize Modigliani fakes?"
This specialist of the Italian painter, who has identified hundreds of works made by forgers, require for their destruction.
Former director of the Pinacotheque Museums in Paris and Modigliani expert, Marc Restellini works on the production of a catalog raisonné of the Italian painter. He contributed, with the Italian collector Carlo Pepi, to bursting out a sensational scandal in Italy, in March, after having denounced the presence of many fakes in an exhibition in Genoa.
Modigliani is famous to be one of the most forged artists. For what reasons?
This is not an isolated case: Corot, for example, is much more. But Modigliani is undoubtedly among the most tried to reproduce, probably because seems "easy" to make a Modigliani.
An artist almost impossible to forge. Since his death in 1920, his evaluation has increased, but the first forger did not appear before 1935-1940.
Some forgers claimed to have forge Modigliani since the 1930s, but these are often unscrupulous people who seek to advertise themselves. Most of the production of the Modigliani fakes dates back to the years 1955-1970. Forgery in large numbers. Four or five forgers return punctually in the documentation we are processing. Where Modigliani's work seems to be a special case, it is that, in the 50s, they are the same catalogers of the painter to endorse and develop fakes.
What are your methods for get an indisputable scientific expertise?
For twenty years I have established a protocol of scientific analysis comparable to what is done in the medical field. Initially it consisted of analyzing a group of paintings recognized as authentic from historical collections and from source documentation (archives) such as those of the merchants or direct Modigliani collectors. Then I developed a protocol of scientific analysis, the same for twenty years, in order to establish a solid comparative basis that allows me to know, month by month between 1905 and 1920, how Modigliani painted. Today I have a corpus with an «imaginometric» base that has never been used. Add to that with a baseline that brings together all archives that are in my possession and you will obtain, in fact, the most reliable catalog possible.
How many fakes have you identified until now?
At least several hundred. The catalogs of Christian Parisot or Joseph Lanthemann, for example, contain a number of dubious works that deserve careful cleaning.
Genoa closes art exhibition with 21 works seized. What happened? The investigation seems to indicate that we are in the context of an international fraud with significant financial implications. The exhibition was not organized by the museum, but by an external financier, under the responsibility of a Swiss Museum curator, Rudy Chiappini, also responsible for the cultural services of the city of Locarno. It would seem, according to the investigation, that the modest price requested by the Ducal Palace organizers should have aroused suspicion. The even bigger suspicions by the organizer of the exhibition, Skira, who knows perfectly the astronomical costs that generates a Modigliani exhibition, even in transport and insurance. A great negligence on the part of the Museum.
What about the main museums, especially the French, that have lent the works for this exhibition?
What is shocking is the role that the protagonists of this exhibition, now incriminated, that want to attribute to French museums. In their defense, they don't stop to explain that these museums have, in the past - and even today - lent works for exhibitions where these fakes appear. Consequently, this connection legitimized them. In Italy, the president of the Ducal Palace of Genova has been replaced and the three protagonists of the exhibition are under investigation. In Switzerland, there was a parliamentary investigation towards Rudy Chiappini. Only Paris doesn't have react.
Once again, is the role of national museums to legitimize fakes?
I wrote to the Minister of Culture three months ago, and there is still no official reaction. I understand that the issue is embarrassing for the administration, but it is amazing to see how, in France, the immunity of museum curators is sacred.
What should be done to stem the proliferation of fakes?
In previous cases, I was wrong to not ask for the destruction of the works. From now on, I will ask it every time I see a public exhibition in which fakes are exposed. And that's because I have always fought the production of fakes that today claim their destruction.
09/01/2018 Ansa: The paintings seized by Italian police last summer from an exhibition of works by Amedeo Modigliani held in Genoa after the complaints by the two experts Carlo Pepi and Marc Restellini, are all fakes (except a drawing), according to Isabella Quattrocchi's expertise report deposited to the Court. Ducal Palace announces they are "injured party" in the affair, stating that if "the appraisals related to the pigment examination confirm the negative opinion of the deposited expertise, the Board of Directors of the Ducal Palace Foundation will decide what initiatives to undertake". The news bounces on all the national newspapers: Sole24Ore, RaiNews, Repubblica, Tgcom, Finestre sull'Arte, iL Secolo XIX, Quotidiano.net, RSInews, LiguriaOggi, Genova24.it, GoNews, Huffington Post, LaRegione, ArteMagazine, QuiNewsPisa, IL Telegrafo, GenovaPost.
Through the on-line website Genova24.it, Furio Truzzi, regional president of the association Assoutenti, launches a class action for ticketed visitors or who can prove their presence at this exhibition to obtain a refund «the theorem on which we were working on was just that: - he explains - after the expertise report, we know with certainty that there's been a huge fraud against visitors. And then, in addition to the bitter consideration, who through the ticket can prove to have visited the exhibition, can claim compensation. We make ourselves available to collect the reports and then present the account to the direct managers».
10/01/2018 The news about the confirm of the fake works in Genoa is on all national newspapers and TV. Now the owners of the incriminated works are shaking, because if the Isabella Quattrocchi expertise, that is added to the one by Mariastella Margozzi, also ended with the same negative judgment, will be confirmed by a final sentence, the Italian law will have to proceed with the destruction of such works. Interviewed by Il Corriere della Sera, Marc Restellini claims «I gave to the Carabinieri of Rome all the informations in my hands to explain how the forgery system works. It is indisputable that the works are fakes, I presented a report and I have provided the evidence». His comments were echoed by Carlo Pepi: «finally the truth had come out. I fought against the Modigliani forgers for years, and I have been opposed and even persecuted by the art establishment. Modigliani seemed to have painted more pictures after death than when he was alive, it was a grotesque situation. But this is just the tip of the iceberg».
The Isabella Quattrocchi's expertise report states that all the canvases are «crudely forged» both «in the style» and «in the pigment». The report also stresses that «the frames of the forged works came from countries in Eastern Europe and the U.S., which do not match up with the period or context in which the artist worked». The curator of the exhibition Rudy Chiappini defends his work by highlighting how he is not the author of the attributions (the reference to Parisot seems obvious): «I limited myself to gathering existing information. It will be necessary to go back to the source, to whoever made the first attributions. The new information about the frames is “ridiculous”». Ducal Palace declares itself to be «injured, indeed strongly injured» stating that «if the appraisal relating to the examination on pigments confirm the negative opinion of the deposited appraisal, the board of directors of the Ducal Palace officials will decide what initiatives to undertake».
Il Secolo XIX writes that in the coming days there could be further news, considering that a series of interrogations are planned together with the outcome of a further evaluation on the dating of paintings and on the canvases requested by some French experts.
From Repubblica (Genoa): "Modigliani fakes: the investigations are directed towards Rome". While the Public Prosecutor's Office wait the second part of appraisal that shakes the art world, in Rome, the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage are working on the case for months. After all, is in the Italian capital that the charges of Carlo Pepi and Marc Restellini have arrived, and it is still in Rome that Christian Gregori Parisot, president of the Modigliani Archives, was indicted in 2013 on charges of receiving stolen property, selling and authenticating fake Modigliani works. A name that the same Pepi has always attacked, and continues to attack today, when the news of the results of the Isabella Quattrocchi expertise report has just leaked. If the Carabinieri investigations will be heading in that direction, nobody can know. Certainly the results of this first appraisal ordered by the Public Prosecutor's Office will give a good acceleration to the investigation.
The lawyers of the parties involved have already asked to see what they consider «not an appraisal, but a simple advice made without contradictory». Among the suspects, yesterday Chiappini commented: «For me nothing change. I did not make the attribution of the works to Modigliani, I have only limited myself to gathering existing information. It will be necessary to go back to the source, to who made the first attribution. I still remain of the idea that those paintings are genuine. However, those paintings were also exhibited elsewhere and their authenticity was based on attributions made by other scholars and experts». Regarding the Isabella Quattrocchi expertise report - we read in the article - is based on scientific tests on the material used to make the 21 works performed by two scientific experts, the results of which has not yet arrived to the Public Prosecutor's Office. A small delay due to the fact they comes from France. But if the conclusions of the Italian professor are so clear, it is unthinkable that the response of the two experts can go to another direction.
The confirming that several paintings showcased in a major exhibition at the Doge's Palace were likely fakes crosses the Italian borders. It is in fact published by the UK newspaper The Telegraph and in U.S. by the Washington Times.
11/01/2018 The Isabella Quattrocchi report results is published by the Swiss daily Letemps, by The Art Newspaper based in London - New York and from the same magazine in Russia. A few hours later by The Indepedent and from the BBC. From the site of Il Secolo XIX we read the reply of the Ducale against the request for reimbursement of the ticket advanced by the president of Assoutenti Liguria: «Given that Ducal Palace understands and shares the strength of feeling and the reasons of the applicants, some clarifications are necessary:
1) The Public Prosecutor's Office has registered in the list of suspects some persons, by the way, for fraud against the Ducal Palace Foundation, defined "injured party" in the criminal proceedings;
2) All profits relating to the sale of tickets and the bookshop are under the responsibility of the organizer of the exhibition, MondoMostre-Skira, which must therefore be addressed any request for reimbursement;
3) The expert appraisal of Isabella Quattrocchi is precisely an appraisal appointed by the party and does not constitute a proof. That said, the Foundation is certainly available to immediately receive representatives of Assoutenti to define, as they request, a "shared solution alternative" that will allow to the visitors the most correct answers in the protection of their rights. Palazzo Ducale Foundation for Culture».
From Repubblica (Genoa): "Modigliani global hoax, a clash of expertise". Panic, requests for clarification and tension after the Genoa's Public Prosecutor's Office move: everyone wants to read the Isabella Quattrocchi's appraisal. This is the moment of panic, of the frenetic requests for clarification, of the telephones of the lawyers who are constantly ringing. The parties involved have provided a petition to the Prosecutor Michele Stagno and to the deputy Prosecutor Paolo D'Ovidio to be able to finally read the expert report. First of all the lawyers of the three people investigated with the hypothesis of aggravated fraud, diffusion of fake works of art and money laundering: therefore the lawyers Massimo Boggio and Massimo Sterpi for the collector and art dealer Joseph Guttmann, owner of 11 of the seized works; Stefano Savi for Massimo Vitta Zelmann, president of MondoMostre Skira, the company that organized the exhibition at Palazzo Ducale; Alberto Venco, lawyer of Rudy Chiappini, the curator of the exhibition ended in the storm; but also Cesare Manzitti, a lawyer for the Ducal Palace, which until now has always been considered an injured party from the Public Prosecutor's Office. Today, the Prosecutor and deputy Prosecutor should hand over the copy of the appraisal to the lawyers, who have two ways to walk. The first is a possible contestation of the appraisal, on the methods with which it was performed for the possible damage to the paintings or drawings due to the analysis of paint pigments. The second way, which at the moment seems obvious, is to commission their own appraisal. Because once the works has been seized (today they are still under custody in the Roman caveau of the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, which are carrying out the investigations), not even the owners have had the chance to see the works.
12/01/2018 The first article is published in the morning by Les Echos and in the evening comes a news from Ansa that bounces on all the national newspapers. Isabella Quattrocchi is interviewed: "The exhibition with Modigliani fakes paintings in Genoa was so planned".
The expert clearly suggests that who set up the exhibition knew very well that the works were fakes. "To find out, it was enough for me to photograph every piece both in front and behind - explains the expert - who has taken care on this case before me, instead, had only been based on shots that they had been given to them. Another important detail: the exhibition was dark and evidently it was not a coincidence. There was no general lighting: only the paintings were illuminated. But there are three fingers on each of paint over, heavy, massive. It's like when you meet in the street a car driving with high beam headlights on: you are blinded and you see everything more confused".
Carlo Pepi, interviewed by Il Tirreno, does not deny his concerns - to which I agree - in view of the centenary of Modì's death: «the centennial celebration of Modigliani's death will be celebrated. In different places are popping up like mushrooms several institutions who intend to take care of Modigliani. If we do not pay attention, there is a risk that the fakes, which today are hundreds all over the world, end up again in other exhibitions. A parallel artist has been created that has nothing to do with the real Modigliani».
From the site of Il Secolo XIX we also read that the Isabella Quattrocchi's judgments, that it's very hard. She talk about signatures written in a style «childish» or «messy», figures assembled «without any competence in the matter» and also aged canvases «in a clumsy way». Moreover, as also written by the two scientific experts, Marie-Pierre Etcheverry and Tiziana Mazzoni (always appointed by the Public Prosecutor's Office), in some cases the «pigments are not compatible with the Modigliani palette, but can be dated after the Second World War». Many of the paintings seized were covered with a panel of "carton plume" to «not reveal the tricks of the realization» wanting to look like antique paintings; in other cases the analyzed style is that of an «amateur, without of any artistic vein on a canvas already prepared, of commercial type, pulled on a serial frame with a crosspiece and despite the tensioning keys is loosened, artificially graying». In the case of the painting "Nu couché (portrait of Céline Howard)", the art consultant emphasized how further investigation from the Ris of the Carabinieri is needed.
From Repubblica (Genoa): "Modigliani exhibition, even the French experts says: 20 works on display are fakes". The scientific report came yesterday at the Public Prosecutor's Office while the Ducal Foundation is ready to protect the visitors who consider themselves scammed. The other part of the report, the second one, drawn up by the French experts, documents that the 20 paintings - among those on display at Palazzo Ducale attributed to Modigliani -, would be fakes. Another severe blow in the art world. It is a segment of technical assessments that the Genoa Public Prosecutor's Office had been waiting for a few days and that yesterday is arrived on the desk of the deputy Prosecutor Paolo D'Ovidio and the Prosecutor Michele Stagno. «On the other hand - explains D'Ovidio - the Isabella Quattrocchi expertise is a part based on the assessments made by the French experts. Although I have not read the report yet, mainly because it was written in French». The findings of the Italian-French teacher Tiziana Mazzoni (restorer and expert of Italian origin who lives in France) and of another French engineer (she deals with art investigations) are based on technical and scientific tests particularly focused on the colors used in the paintings, on the dating of the works and on their composition. So, at the moment nothing changes compared to what is expressed by Isabella Quattrocchi. No a single thing does not change with respect to the past days. They would be fakes, exposed to the Ducale Palace from March 16 to July 13 last year.
Always from Repubblica: The long history of the fake Modigliani. The "head of woman" seized in Genoa comes from Milan and it was certified by the Ministry.
One of the famous paintings by Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) exhibited at Ducal Palace in Genoa, judged to be fake and seized after a complaint filed to the Public Prosecutor's Office, comes from Milan where it has always been considered a masterpiece. It is a "Head of a Woman" of 1917, or "Head of Hanka Zborowska", owned by the Pasquinelli Foundation. It is the portrait, in warm tones, of the heir of a wealthy family of the Polish Taristocracy in Paris, posing by the artist in his atelier, fascinated by his elegant features, her face is sharp and quite haughty. A writing on the back of the canvas shows the address of Modì's studio in rue Joseph Bara 3. No one had ever raised any objections to the signature in the lower right-hand corner. While the Roman expert appointed by the Public Prosecutor's Office, the expert Isabella Quattrocchi, she inserted it without delay into the list of the "crude fake" works. The art historian Antonello Negri, long-time director of the department of arts history and a member of the scientific committee of the Museum of the 20th century of Milan, remembers that the work has an important pedigree and a story with flakes. «Documented early as '32 in an exhibition in Paris at the Hòtel Drouot, a qualified auction house, like Sotheby's today, it has been seen by many scholars throughout the century. From Berenson to Russoli, who exhibited it at Real Palace of Milan in 1958; Palma Bucarelli chose it for another exhibition in Rome, at the National Gallery of Rome in '59». Even the great collector, connoisseur and critic Lamberto Vitali, a specialist in Modigliani who wrote so much about him for Scheiwiller (It's quite the opposite, Scheiwiller took care of Modigliani before Vitali), talked about it for a long time and, in 1946, proposed it to the Casa della Cultura, linking it to a season of research by the distinguished painter from the «greatest transfiguration of his models». The Pasquinelli Foundation has included the "Head of Hanka" in the exhibition "Figures 1913-1942" organized in 2015. A well-known bibliography. «Another interesting fact - continues Negri - this painting is notified. In the seventies it was asked to Pasquinelli for an exhibition abroad. For temporary exportation it was notified by the Ministry that attested its authenticity. It is curious that the Government of Italy in the past has certified this work, instead now seizes it». Faced with a touchy subject, having regard to the fame of Modigliani as the most copied and faked twentieth century artist in the world, Negri does not rule out anything: «they could all have taken a blunder. Nothing is impossible. But we will have to wait the final sentence. For now we suspend the judgment».
13/01/2018 Il Secolo XIX publish all the 20 works confirmed as fakes by Isabella Quattrocchi, reporting the origins and the results of the appraisals for each of them. The only work 'saved' among the 21 seized, at least judging from those published by this journal, should be the portrait of Jean Cocteau (1916, pencil on paper). We have also further informations about the expertise; are mentioned styles often «childish», from the mark «too heavy» or «blushing», in a case superimposed even to the evident coexistence «of the abbreviation of another artist», works in some cases painted «quickly and in a very wholesale way» and copied from authentic Modigliani paintings. Other works - and now we enter in the scientific field - «intentionally aged» through complex techniques, such as «artificial combustion», interventions with «shellac coating» or «white titanium», and in the end through «clumsy attempt to paper restoring». The judgment, signed by Isabella Quattrocchi (the art expert who has unmasked the reproductions of the works owned by the boss of Mafia capital Massimo Carminati) and supplemented by the reports of two French scholars and one Italian, launches a harsh attack both those who have authenticated the paintings, defined as «crude fakes», and to the organizers of the exhibition: «the works object of seizure have a generic origin, from "private collections" of North America, South America, from Israel and from various European countries. Many presents a "carton plume" which masks the falsification operations to a non-careful examination. The exhibition at the Ducal Palace in Genoa was organized with the intention to not allow a proper vision of the works».
Da Repubblica (Genoa): The expertise that smash the "Modigliani fakes". The expert asks to send a canvas to the Ris (Scientific Investigations Departments) of Parma. Heavy judgments for each of the disputed works. Also rejected the painting that the Ministry declared authentic in the seventies. In the painting "Nu couché (portrait of Céline Howard)" «the signature in the upper right corner is fake: unclear, grainy, messy, repeated twice with a light color and a dark one on the still fresh painting and every single letters that compose it, doesn't have the same font and trend of the originals».
In addition, in the work «there is also a disharmony of the graphic components of the nude, accentuated by the drafting of the color that does not take into account the volumes, the light and dark contrasts, the incidence of light on the image, crushing and dilating forms, misrepresenting the female aspects of the character». For these and (many) other reasons the verdict of Prof. Isabella Quattrocchi is really without appeal: «The work, for inconsistencies described above, is considered a grossly fake». But it could be a historical fake dating back to decades ago, and not to a "daub" realized in quite recent times, that's why Isabella Quattrocchi asks for an absolutely qualified scientific expertise: «Given the results of the microsampling analysis... which do not reveal substantial anachronistic elements, it is considered necessary to submit the work to the examination of the RIS (Scientific Investigations Departments of Carabinieri)». In the work "Large nude lying", attributed to Moise Kisling, according to Quattrocchi "the fake signature in the upper right corner it is written with a childish style». And then «the still life with a portrait of Kisling, missing the half chromatic tones of the volumes, seems painted to be inserted into a cartoon». In short «the picture more than a painting, can be considered a painted serial graphics». A "Seated nude" where in any case «the support, controlled on the front and back, shows on the upper right and lower left some light nuances due to a clumsy attempt to restore the paper». Not even "Head of woman (Portrait of Hanna Zborowska?)" can be saved: «despite the long and articulated exhibition history and the notification by the Ministry of March 30th 1972 signed of the Minister of the time, a grossly fake work is considered too».
15/01/2018 The Forward publishes an article on the Genoa's scandal, moreover Daniel Witkin, who already in August raised the question of the lack of a definitive Modigliani catalog that is at the base of many speculations on the artist works, problem that will be solved with the release of the catalogue raisonné of the Restellini Institute, notes that "Restellini's catalog would be an advantage for owners of newly authenticated works, while owners of Ceroni certified works fear that an increase of the catalog Modigliani can devalue their works". A plausible consideration even if it is well known that the Ceroni turns out to be incomplete and not devoid of mistakes.
16/01/2918 From Arab Fashion and Lifestyle Magazine we read another news: Rudy Chiappini, who curated the exhibition and is currently under investigation, maintains that until concretely proven otherwise, the works are originals worth millions of euros. He asserted that having followed up on provenance while acquiring the works, any wrongdoing falls under the responsibility of those who provided him the documentation, including Hungarian art dealer Joseph Guttmann, who loaned 11 of the works, and Massimo Vitta Zelman, president of MondoMostre Skira, who organised the show. Palazzo Ducale is in the process of seeking reimbursement for the copyright damages while an Italian consumer group plans to file a class action lawsuit to secure full refunds for visitors, including compensation for their travel expenses.
17/01/2018 «Hidden complaints to gain millions from the fake Modigliani works». This is the title of Il Secolo XIX from which we read that Marc Restellini defines «suspicious convergences» those between Joseph Guttmann, owner of several of the 21 paintings of Modigliani and Kisling seized in Genoa, and some of the "experts" involved as Christian Parisot, former president of the Archives Legal Modigliani, and Rudy Chiappini, curator of the Ducal Palace exhibition: «There is a connection between Guttmann and the works exhibited in Genoa. Guttmann initially used Parisot to legitimize the works purchased and treated by himself. It has rumored that the Hungarian dealer paid Parisot for having fake works inserted in catalogs produced by the latter. When Parisot was arrested for fake Modigliani works produced by himself, he lost credibility so he was removed by Guttmann and replaced with Rudy Chiappini, who already collaborated with both of them at the time». We read also a correction concerning a mistake reported repeatedly on several newspapers about the relationship between Restellini and Parisot: «once concluded a university master's degree, I wanted to organize an exhibition but I had no experience. I was advised to contact Parisot. He said that was available and also lent me some drawings by Modigliani, which in my view were horrible. He was the president of the Legal Archives and assured the authenticity, I could not help but accept. Understanding the character, I no longer wanted to have any contact with him».
The scenario described to the agents - source Il Secolo XIX -, quite incredulous in front of the size of the fraud reported (we speak of insured paintings with a value between 20 and 40 million dollars), is a kind of system: «I have a certain amount of experience, I have set up 140 exhibitions, and to make them you need an investment of 5-6 million euros. Parisot requires 150 thousand euros, this is the proof that the profits do not come from the event. It is well known that Chiappini works for Guttmann, just read the thanks in the catalog of Genoa exhibition. It is absolutely unusual that he only thank him». These are the first charges, which confirm what was previously reported by the Tuscan art collector Carlo Pepi, then supported by four other authoritative opinions, those of the super consultants of the Prosecutor: Mariastella Margozzi and Isabella Quattrocchi (experts of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage), Tiziana Mazzoni (restorer who works in Paris, expert in the analysis of pigments) and Marie Pierre Etcheverry (engineer in archeology, specialized in dating of art works). A seventh critic, Marc Ottavi, heard on 28 June, adds that the paintings attributed to Moïse Kisling, Modì's friend, are also fakes: «No localization of these paintings is possible between 1920 and 2000. Guttmann financed a catalog with fake Kisling works».
22/01/2018 "The scientific analysis reveal: Twenty paintings seized by Italian police last summer from an exhibition of works by Amedeo Modigliani held in Genoa are fakes". On Repubblica we read an Isabella Quattrocchi statement which assures that the colors used on the disputed paintings are "non-existent until the 1960s". "If the multispectral analyzes say that the colors used to make some works by Modigliani exhibited in Genoa did not exist before the Sixties - says Isabella Quattrocchi, 77, Roman, consultant of the Genoa Public Prosecutor's Office - I do not understand how is it possible that my appraisal can be contested".
Isabella Quattrocchi interviewed by Repubblica: "involvement of the science to authenticate Modigliani fakes":
Professor Isabella Quattrocchi, can you enter into detail?
«After my scientific maturity I took the diploma (G.E.D.), then I finished the Academy of Fine Arts. In the '70s I won a competition held by the historic artistic high school in via Ripetta, in Rome. There were 4000 people from all over Italy and only one place to be assigned. Then I was nominated as a professor of painting disciplines at the Academy of Fine Arts in L'Aquila city. But I preferred to have other experiences, among which restorer of dozens of works belonging to Italian embassies around the world».
So she never abandoned art world?
«That's impossible. Since 35 years I have worked as an expert appraisal for the works of art of the Court, first civil and criminal. I collaborate with the Prosecutors of half Italy. In all this time I can say that I have done some field experience: Dorazio, De Dominicis, although everyone always talks about the Guttuso, Warhol and Miró found in the home of former Nar Massimo Carminati and unmasked by me».
On the now famous 20 works by Modigliani and Kisling rejected, you have issued very harsh verdict ...
«I have already said and I repeat now that for me the exposition of the fakes in Genoa was planned and premeditated. And it wasn't an accident that the exhibition was dark».
Many have criticized this fact: if she take seven months to analyze the 21 works, then she can not judge them as "grossly fakes".
«The time taken depends largely on the scientific findings made by the French experts on the paintings. There are technical times that for that kind of works can not be shortened. For the drawings, instead, I went back to the originals from which the fakes were then made».
And if the defence of the owners or suspects involved in the investigation of the Genoa Public Prosecutor's Office will produce their own appraisals in which it will be "established" that the works are instead authentic?
«If the scientific analysis has reveal that some particular pigment in the Twenties did not even exist, how can science be contradicted? Also for this reason I said that some paintings are "grossly fakes"».
One of the rejected paintings was authenticated by the Ministry of Education.
«It is a very serious thing. Anyway it was not an authentication, but only a notification of historical and artistic interest. So, who could put into question a work notified by the Ministry?»
There's too much at stake. Did you feel the pressure to play such a delicate role?
«I think I have enough experience to move forward without excessive emotional involvement. There was been other occasions when I was afraid».
What do you think about the dispute between art critics around Modigliani?
«I've always tried to keep myself out of this world. And I think that all passionate, experts and critics really care about to advertise themselves. Nobody excluded».
From Il Secolo XIX we read that a collaboration between the Ducal Palace Foundation and the Consumer Associations will soon bring to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) to allow visitors to the "Modigliani" exhibition to obtain compensation after the discovery that 21 works were fakes . This was announced by Ducal Palace and Assoutenti after the successful outcome of a meeting in the last few days between Furio Truzzi, Assoutenti President, Rosanna Stifano, Assoutenti Genoa President, Giovanni Ferrari, President of the Consumer House, and the president and the director of the Ducal Palace Foundation, Luca Bizzarri and Pietro da Passano. In a note we also read that «Ducal has not received any corresponding for the sale of the tickets that for contract was due to the organizer World Exhibitions Skira, and in this affair the Genoa's Museum is declared injured party for serious damage of image by the Public Prosecutor's Office; likewise the visitors, if the forged of the works were confirmed by the Court, they would be victims of the deception at the moment of the purchase of the tickets».
24/01/2018 about visitors, we read from Il Corriere della Sera that an agreement has been concluded between the Ducal Palace Foundation and the 'Assemblies and the Consumers'. «The "shared solution alternative" will promptly receive correct information and answers in the protection of their rights following the recent judicial news. The first step was the establishment of a toll-free number (800199633) to provide information to the scammed visitors. The amount of the tickets will have to be paid by the company Skira who organized the exhibition, but this step, let the Foundation know, it can not take place before a final sentence is pronounced against the forgers».
From Arte & Magazine we read that according to the opinion of the two scientific experts appointed by the Public Prosecutor's Office, Marie-Pierre Etcheverry and Tiziana Mazzoni, the works “Red Caryatid”, the “Portrait of Moricand”, the “Portrait of Chaim Soutine” and the “Femme aux Macarons” they would have been painted between 1956 and 1960: a historical dating derived from the presence of titanium white, a material that was widespread only after the Second World War. Concerning the other works, however, some anomalies would have been detected, but according to the two experts "further investigation and study of the stylistic history are needed" to have certainties about dating.
25/02/2018 In an article on Il Secolo XIX a legitimate question is asked: «who keeps the paintings and - above all - who is responsible for settling the bill?» A first complaint, on this aspect, came from the Ducal Palace Foundation, which defined themselves injured party in the affair and is preparing to claim a millionaire compensation to those responsible, in case it was shown that someone has knowingly used Genoa as a springboard with the intent to passing "daubs" like artworks. On the Foundation's budget, in fact, there are 30 thousand euros left: the expenses of the first transfer of the canvases in a better organized structure in Bologna (5 thousand euros), and above all the cost of an insurance policy, which Ducal Palace was been forced to bear to convince the private structure, Art Defender, to take charge of the works (another 25 thousand euros). Then, to add insult to injury. «At an early stage - confirms Pietro Da Passano, Director General of the Palazzo Ducale - we have kept the paintings on behalf of the judiciary. But after about fifteen days, we were forced to get rid of it because we had to carry out important interventions on the heating and cooling system. Postponing the work, however, would have put us in serious trouble with the organization of the next Picasso exhibition. This is why we contacted ArtDefender, among the best in this field, but they immediately made it clear that they would not accept to keep the works without adequate insurance». Ducal Palace offers to pay the transport costs, but about the insurance policy, they feel "to be left holding the baby", which ends up costing 25 thousand euros. An important detail must be remembered: the value of the works, waiting for a judgment, varies from appalling figures (market prices range from 500 million to one billion euros) to the abyss (in case they are considered fakes, they would be destroyed). «It is clear that no private individual would ever accept such a risk». To pay the custody account, in the end, it will be the State, but most likely it will not happen soon. In the meantime, with the continuation of the investigations, the paintings were transferred to Rome, in the caveau of the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. «I do not know when, or who - says Da Passano -, but someone will have to give us that money back. To these expenses we add the immense damage moral and image that we have suffered: we have collected a dossier of three folders in which we have collected articles, letters, messages, which have demolished our reputation. The damage is enormous, impossible to quantify».
27/02/2018 from Repubblica: Modigliani fakes: the magistrates investigate between the United States and Bern. Three requests of international letters rogatory to try to trace back to the art dealers who would have put the fakes into circulation. Not one, but three. Not only the United States, where one of the most important figures of this worldwide intrigue is located, Joseph Guttmann, collector and art dealer. At least two other requests of international letters rogatory have been sent by the Genoa Public Prosecutor's Office. One for Switzerland, where's comes one of the most famous paintings seized in Genoa: the "Nu couché (portrait of Céline Howard)" lent by a private collector, the other for Great Britain. A triple move that translates into concrete actions what had immediately appeared urgent, after the arrival of the Isabella Quattrocchi appraisal who had defined "grossly fakes" twenty of the twenty-one works by Modigliani seized from the exhibition on the artist, staged at Palazzo Ducale from last spring until July. The intent of the Italian magistracy, of the public Prosecutor Michele Stagno and of the deputy Prosecutor Paolo D'Ovidio who opened a dossier for aggravated fraud, forgery's diffusion and exhibition, and laundering - is to "go backwards". Or, to reconstruct the history of the works judged forged by Quattrocchi: from who bought the owners, how much they paid, who has certified the works? And above all, when they entered the art market? A task at all simple and not at all short, so it is not surprising that the Public Prosecutor's Office has requested a six-month extension of the investigation.
10/03/2018 From Repubblica (Genova), we learn that the Prosecutor Michele Stagno, who coordinates the investigation together with the deputy Prosecutor Paolo D'Ovidio, has given the ok to the suspects who have requested to make new appraisals on the works kept in the caveau of the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Rome. In the coming days, therefore, other experts will be authorized to perform new examinations. Should not be made counter-tests on pigments, rather non-invasive tests but which can detect a lot of information, such as radiographs. Not all suspects, however, seem to have chosen this way. Who did it is Joseph Guttmann and Rudy Chiappini. We find out also that between Chiappini and the Public Prosecutor's Office there is a tug-of-war on the request for international rogatory letters put forward by the Genoese magistrates which in Switzerland have asked to seize papers and documents on the work of Modigliani. Chiappini has challenged the letters rogatory, but it is difficult to block the Genoa Prosecutors, who want to go on. As regards the other two letters rogatory requested by Genoa, in Great Britain and the United States, it is only a question of receiving information. No seizure has been requested, so no impugnment is possible. If the target in the United States is easily identifiable in the same Guttmann, Britain is a "new entry" in the story. We obviously have to look at London, where there are the two most famous auction houses in the world, Christie's and Sotheby's from which the works could be passed through. But always in London, at the Tate Modern, from last November to the next 2 April the exhibition "Modigliani" is set up, with other works by the artist. Remains a suspect, Massimo Vitta Zelmann, president of MondoMostre Skira, the largest company in Italy to deal on the organization and production of exhibitions. At the moment he has not yet asked to enter the caveau of the Carabinieri to see the works, so he could focus entirely on the reconstruction of the cards of origin of the Modigliani exhibited in Genoa. Also because if it were established in a final sentence that some of the paintings and drawings are really fakes, the organizers of the exhibition would have "good game" to claim that they were first deceived by those who brought documents and authentications on the works.
N.B. Obviously, none of the seized works has passed through Christie's or Sotheby's.
18/03/2018 From Repubblica: Modigliani fakes: the hoax of ithe insurance - The Carabinieri fear possible damages and forbid the examination of the paintings of Modigliani to the experts hired by the suspects. The Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Rome, who guards the 20 works of Modigliani seized, wrote to the Genoa's deputy prosecutor explaining that the insurance coverage on the canvases, signed at the time by the Ducal Palace Foundation, it has expired. And now, in a few words, in the case which someone damage the canvases, in trouble there could end both those who will make new expertise and also the Carabinieri who guards the works seized in their caveau. A warning that put again all in stand-by. So to overcome the impasse, the ways seem two. Or the lawyers of the suspects will be able to find an agreement with the Public Prosecutor to circumvent the new unforeseen event, or the matter could become really serious. In the first case a solution could be a waiver signed by the owners of the works, which allows to the experts appointed by the defenses to handle the paintings without taking risks of damage. Solution that seems within reach for Guttmann, who should actually authorize himself to perform tests on his works. Chiappini, on the other hand, that like a curator of the exhibition would have the obvious interest to examine more canvases as possible, would instead find himself in the unfortunate situation of asking a waiver to the every individual owner. If the "friendly" solution already presents some difficulties, the second one would be really drastic and could lead to an appeal before to the magistrate (judge of preliminary investigation). Because the paintings in question represent the "corpus delicti" of the alleged crime and the defense could argue to haven't had the opportunity to examine it properly, unlike the Prosecutor. Another objection of the two suspects (the alleged crimes are aggravated fraud, forgery, diffusion of fake works of art and laundering) is that their tests would not involve on taking paint samples for pigment analysis or some other invasive action, as was done by the expert Isabella Quattrocchi on her appraisal carried out jointly with the two scientific experts Marie-Pierre Etcheverry and Tiziana Mazzoni. Instead it would be doing "non-invasive" analysis such as through infrared rays (in technical terms, reflectography). In the coming days we will understand which fold will take an increasingly surreal story. Because if on one side there is an expert who defines "grossly false" works of millionaire value, on the other hand all the parts in question are careful not to commit some false steps.
16/04/2018 From the Facebook page of the Institut Restellini we learn that on 24 April at the IFAR (International Foundation for Art Research) in New York, after the recent exhibitions there will be a conference on Modigliani. The four speakers invited to talk about studies and research techniques on the artist's works will be Isabelle Duvernois (conservator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art), Lena (Carol) Stringari (vice director and chief conservator of the Museum and Guggenheim Foundation), and the two specialists engaged in the publication of their respective reasoned catalogs: Marc Restellini (founder and director of the Institut Restellini in Paris) and Kenneth Wayne (director of the 'Modigliani project' in New York).
An event certainly very interesting even if - it must be said -, among the exhibitions that took place this year there is also Genoa, in which there were exposed a conspicuous number of Modigliani fakes (many of them are very well known), against whom only Carlo Pepi and Marc Restellini fought. I find it really embarrassing the fact that certain characters around Modigliani and who consider themselves "experts" or considered as such, they did not raise their dissent against this scandal that has once again damaged the reputation and the art of Modigliani. Perhaps they are not experts, or maybe they consider genuine the works indicted - If so, they should seriously take into account the idea to deal with some other artist .....
26/04/2018 "L'Espresso" (insert of Repubblica) publishes an interview by Francesca Sironi to Carlo Pepi who talks about his history, his entry and exit from the Modigliani Institute Legal Archives and of his battles in defense of art against frauds and colluding merchants. Pepi also lists several exhibitions in which Modigliani fakes were exposed in recent years and he does not use half terms against the president of the Modigliani Institute Legal Archives: «I have often been in court, called by the Public Prosecutor's Office. But the forgers, and especially the merchants who earn thanks to them, made me war. I was isolated, banned. I spent almost 30 years of charges to arrive to the arrest of Christian Parisot. And I still see his works around».
12/05/2018 The speech by Marc Restellini at the IFAR in New York is published on the Facebook page of the homonymous Institute. Essentially Marc Restellini traces all the phases of the Genoa's case; both because he considers it like one of the greatest scandals occurred in the museums, and to take stock of the issue about the fakes and the forgers, which are a source of great daily concern for the French expert. And it is precisely on the new generation of forgers of the last decade that Marc Restellini makes the alarm, because if before the forgers "worked" in an autonomous way, now they have available a real platform that includes anonymous Istitutes and laboratories scientific they exploit for to legitimize some subjects with skills to be verified and sometimes invented, which guarantee the authenticity of the works through the contribute of the "science". In this regard, Restellini tells how he came to create a protocol of scientific analysis on the works of Modigliani since 1997, that is, when he began working on the catalog raisonné with Daniel Wildenstein up to the present day with the Restellini Institute which combine the scientific studies with a triangulation between stylistic research and an essential source intended as literature that includes all the original collections and primary documents on Paul Guillaume and his photographic archive, Roger Dutilleul, Jonas Netter, Masurel, Noël Alexandre and many others. This triangulation method - reiterates M.R - is the only one able to guarantee a reliable and solid work on the reasoned catalog.
In the conference, Restellini talks about an error made during the retrospective of Modigliani at the Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1981 in which the presence of titanium white in the portrait to Antonia (1915), was ascertained, a mistake - then disavowed - which has paved the way for new fakes on the world art scene. This issue was also discussed in the Genoa case as we were given analysis results from extremely reliable laboratories stating that traces of Titanium white existed in Norway, as early as eighteen ninety-five. «I cannot tell you how many times we have had to speak up and explain that Modigliani was not Vermeer, that he did not grind his pigments but used tubes of paint sold by merchants, and that to have pigments brought from Norway to Paris, a city with tax counters at each city gate, deep in the context of World War One, would have been quite remarkable but most unlikely - said Restellini». The French expert also confirms that the figure hidden under the portrait of Victoria, emerged from the retrospective of the Tate of London, is Beatrice Hastings which makes this discovery even more interesting, but points out the fact that from his research, contrary to what It was written on the Burlington Magazine, only a dozen paintings were reused by the artist from Livorno. Restellini gives more than legitimate reasons about the importance of keeping certain scientific results secret - to read about his interview with The New York Observer - by stating that publishing certain discoveries would only provide the forgers with those operating instructions for produce other fakes, this is why it invites the scientific community to a greater sense of responsibility. Learn more: Catalogue raisonné projects - Entrevista a Marc Restellini - A Modigliani? Who Says So?
Marc Restellini also announces that his catalog raisonné is ready and is actually at the layout stage, but remains focused on making it as complete as possible. His's speech at the IFAR conference in New York concludes by recalling the exhibitions dedicated to Modigliani curated by him and that at the moment he would like to work on an absolutely essential project; the relationship between Modigliani and Picasso. «I have the immense pleasure - Restellini ends - of announcing that, for the hundreth anniversary of Modigliani’s death, I will organize, together with the Albertina Museum in Vienna, an exhibition titled Modigliani – Picasso the primitivist revolution. I think this is one of the most ambitious projects that can be considered about Modigliani».
05/07/2018 Il Secolo XIX publishes a news that should definitely close this story. We read in fact that a new expertise report has arrived, signed by the Carabinieri of the RIS of Parma (the most important forensic science department of the Carabinieri), which definitively confirms and reinforces the evidence base rebuilt by the prosecution in recent months: the canvases exhibited at Ducal Palace, says the RIS dossier , they are almost all fakes. The only margins of doubt, write the authors of the new analysis, concern in fact some drawings, the sketches left unfinished and without color, that follow some of the most famous paintings. As for the paintings, the final proof comes from the chemical analysis of the colors: that kind of paints, the Carabinieri conclude, has a more recent date than the one declared and certainly after the death of the Livorno genius. The new report will be deposited very soon and made available to the parties in question, in one of the most sensational investigations conducted in the art world in recent years.
The fact that even the Carabinieri of the RIS of Parma have come to very similar conclusions to the two consultants of the Public Prosecutor's Office, could lead the deputy Prosecutor Paolo D'Ovidio and the Prosecutor Michele Stagno to close the investigations shortly.
11/07/2018 The process in the process has already begun and sees the Ducal Palace Foundation give battle. Even before asking for a possible mega compensation for having exposed the paintings of Modigliani, in case the famous canvases were declared false by the Court, here is another problem, much more immediate that is a judicial winding-up order delivered to the Foundation for custody and insurance costs on the incriminated paintings.
Money that the Foundation had to put on the table in the past months. Over 30 thousand euros that are now at the center of what in technical terms is called incidental process (and that follows the rules of the civil trial), as "hooked" to the mother investigation on the paintings considered fakes by the prosecutor. Next October 30, then, before the judge Roberto Bonino, will be discussed about the request for reimbursement of this money.
Last November, the Foundation asked to the prosecutors the reimbursement of these expenses, but a clearly no arrived from the Public Prosecutor's Office. The question, therefore, has become a separate process, in which Palazzo Ducale to sue the Ministry of Justice. On 30 October, not only the Foundation, but also all the parties involved in the main investigation were called: the art dealer Joseph Guttman, owner of some of the works in question, Rudy Chiappini, curator of the Genoese exhibition and Massimo Vitta Zelmann, president of MondoMostre Skira, the organizer of the exhibition. Because, if tomorrow the three suspects were condemned, the money that the Palazzo Ducale Foundation wants to take back could be asked of them. An eventuality, it is evident, very far in time.
21/02/2019 Il Secolo XIX: A new appraisal, this time conducted by the Ris of Roma, confirms the forgery of the incriminated works. After the delivery of the Ris report, the Public Prosecutor's Office will close at soon the investigation which now sees two other persons under investigation whose generalities are not disclosed for the moment.
12/03/2019 Il Secolo XIX: The prosecutor's office closed the investigation of the Modigliani fakes. Three new names have been included in the list of suspects: Nicolò Sponzilli, director of Mondo Mostre Skira, organizer of the exhibition; Rosa Fasan, employee of Mondo Mostre Skira; Piero Ottorino Martino Pedrazzini, collector and owner of one of the paintings indicted: the "Portrait of Chaime Soutine". According to the investigations, a document with a false logo of the Municipality of Genoa also emerged, «apparently directed to the Directorate-General of Fine Arts of the Ministry of Culture and apparently signed by the director of the Tourism sector» of Palazzo Tursi.
13/03/2019 THE RETURN GUARANTEE (source Il Secolo XIX - La Republica - Genoa)
To understand it better, we need to return a few months before the outbreak of the scandal. Joseph Gutmann, American owner of about half of the 21 works subsequently seized in Genoa, was pressing on Mondo Mostre Skira, the organizing body of the Ducal Palace exhibition. The collector required a written guarantee of the return of his works on loan and, in particular, he asked to put on paper that they will not been held for any reason in Italy. Why such insistence the investigators have asked to themself? Until that moment, in fact, no one had raised any doubt about Modigliani's exhibition, and the Genoa show-case is of absolute prestige, beyond all suspicion. Doubts of the prosecution, it should be emphasized, that they find a different interpretation in the defenses: it is usual in the art world, the lawyers argue, especially when dealing with works of the highest value, to provide written guarantees. But be that as it may, there are also two Mondo Mostre Skira's employees in the list of suspects. For the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, the document sent to Gutmann is a counterfeit (a copy-paste) of a communication of the Municipality of Genoa sent to the Ministry. For this reason Nicolò Sponzilli, 54, and Rosa Fasan, 31, are investigated, respectively director and project manager of Mondo Mostre Skira. Together with them the magistrates entered a third name in the list of suspects, Piero Onorino Martino Pedrazzini, resident in Switzerland, «lender of the "Portrait of Chaime Soutine"», one of the paintings considered «fake, without doubt».
THE INQUIRY (source: AgCult) The investigation activities, in addition to the traditional investigative techniques (telephone interceptions, searches, stakeouts, acquisition and analysis of copious administrative and banking documentation), were implemented by the technical scientific support provided by the Carabinieri scientific investigation departments located in Rome, that have performed specific examinations on the materials used for the realization of the works through non-invasive techniques (Raman spectroscopy) and micro-invasive techniques (micro-Raman, micro-FT IR and SEM-EDX). Given the origin of the works under investigation, mostly owned by foreign citizens, the investigators carried out various International Rogatory Commissions, with the support of the competent Police Forces, in the United States of America, Switzerland, France, Israel and the Netherlands.
27/03/2019 Modigliani fakes: Twenty 20 years of fraud between New York, Lugano and Italy. This is the news of the day published by all italian newspapers. By the various sources, we learn that a FBI bliz and the investigative dossier on the forged artworks in display at Ducal Palace of Genoa, allow to unmask a 'counterfeiting system' of at least 20 years on Modigliani works. According to the Genoa Public Prosecutor's Office and the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Rome, a group active between New York, Lugano and Italy, have 'placed' Modigliani fakes in exhibitions around the world, to increase their value and then to sell them to unskilled collectors. Furthermore, Christian Parisot, the former president of the Modigliani Institute Legal Archives, who should confirm the authenticity of a painting, at the third interrogation, admits that the same archive is only an empty box, without original certifications. And - he said - it is almost impossible to establish the authenticity of hundreds of paintings in circulation. We also learn that Mondo Mostre Skira is accused of having forged some documents, blackmailed by a merchant in collusion with the curator of the exhibition (Guttmann and Chiappini), that they had threatened to block the Genoese exhibition if it had not been guaranteed the immunity against the seizures on numerous works of suspicious origin which would have been the main attractive of the event: "They had spread the truth scent on huge fakes", the synthesis of the Carabinieri. According to reports, the investigations were directed in a right direction thanks to the statements of the expert Marc Restellini, that in an interview released to Il Secolo XIX on 7/01/2018, he spoke of «suspicious convergences» those between Joseph Guttmann, owner of several of the 21 paintings of Modigliani and Kisling seized in Genoa, and some of the "experts" involved: Christian Parisot, former president of the Modigliani Institute Legal Archives, and Rudy Chiappini, curator of the Ducal Palace exhibition: «There is a connection between Guttmann and the works exhibited in Genoa. Guttmann initially used Parisot to legitimize the works purchased and treated by himself. It has rumored that the Hungarian dealer paid Parisot for having fake works inserted in catalogs produced by the latter. When Parisot was arrested for fake Modigliani works produced by himself, he lost credibility so he was removed by Guttmann and replaced with Rudy Chiappini, who already collaborated with both of them at the time».
The FBI searched Guttman in New York finding a strange English version of a document with the logo of Genoa's municipality, which guarantees "the immediate re-export" of the paintings lent. It has been established that it is a fake document of a fairly insignificant protocol of the Genoa's municipality. Mondo Mostre, instead, give it to Guttman as an Italian guarantee that his paintings will have no trouble, so the Modigliani fakes landing in Liguria. «For over 30 years I fought against the Modigliani fakes that just appeared since the Eighties. Unfortunately, even the Institutions, instead to defend me, sided against me also trying to prosecute me, and leaving the forgers to continue in their "work"». This was declared by the expert Carlo Pepi, the first to raise the alarm on the fakes of Genoa: «to not become member of an association that I considered criminal, I decided to leave the Modigliani Institute Legal Archives and the Modigliani's birthplace I had founded and directed, and in September 10, 1990 I formalized my resignation before the notary. Now we finally realize what I have always told!»
9/06/2019 By Repubblica: "This portrait is a genuine Modigliani": we are close to the release of "head of woman". For the carabinier of Ris,i the pigments, the colors, the age in which the painting was made are all elements compatible with the hand of the great Italian artist. The only doubt - we read - it would be the signature, for this reason graphological examinations were arranged.
19/06/2019 Il Corriere della Sera: the great war on the artist's work: six at the process. «The most impressive investigation in the history». In the website of the same newspaper, in addition to a summary of the intricate case, the disputed works and the judgments of the experts are reported.
19/06/2019 Modì, the battle of the appraisals go on.
After the report produced by art historians, Mibac executives, university professors and Ris of the carabinieri, for the deputy prosecutor Paolo D'Ovidio is the time of the appraisals of the parties involved. Massimo Sterpi who, together with Massimo Boggio of Genoa defends the American collector Joseph Guttmann, is interviewed.
- Below are the most interesting and unpublished parts of this article that is published alongside in an integral form -
Can you reassume the contents of your statement of defense?
Our thesis is simple. First of all the works examined so far by the consultants engaged by the providers are genuine and, in any case, everyone worked in good faith, given the important historiographical "pedigree" that characterizes all the paintings in question. We then highlighted - with unambiguous evidence - that there was never an agreement between the exhibition organizers and the collectors and / or providers involved in order to authenticate works, knowing their falsity. On the contrary, the same investigations have not revealed any "wicked" agreement between the parties under investigatigation, but simply normal relations between curators, organizers and collectors.
What emerged instead from the expertises performed by your technical consultants?
We would like to remind that - given their position as a precautionary custody - they were carried out in a particular context: the canvas were examined one by one under the supervision of the Judicial Police, at the Central of the Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Rome and we were not even allowed to take samples of pigments. In any case, the accurate historical / artistic and scientific investigations of our consultants were first performed on the Modigliani works and allemerged elements - even making use of X-rays, which none of the consultants of the Pm used, not even by the Ris - are results compatible with Modigliani's techniques and the age in which he lived, as well as with his circle of friends. For example, under one of the disputed paintings - the «Red caryatid» / «Bride and Groom» - the portrait of the wife of Modigliani's painting master, Guglielmo Micheli, emerged (read the post of 06/26/2017). Moreover, for another drawing by Modigliani, it has been shown that it is part of a series of preparatory drawings for a well-known and uncontested painting of the Master. Finally, it has been shown that the white titanium, which the consultants of the Pm indicate as proof of fake, was actually already used when Modigliani was alive (for example, it was found in a painting by Picasso in 1909). As for the most important painting, the Reclining Nude (Portrait of Céline Howard), it was explained that the apparent lack of volumes is only due to a crushing of the pigments during the relining of the painting, an aspect clearly evident from the scientific analyzes.
What's your position?
Our consultants have highlighted the contestability of the methodologies and conclusions of the (too many) experts of the Pm, confirming instead the authenticity of all the works examined so far. For the other works, it is noted that they were all accompanied by certificates of authenticity issued by the son of the other artist represented in the Genoa exhibition, that is to say the painter Moise Kisling, with whom Amedeo Modigliani shared the study for a long time (fake news!). Therefore, we are absolutely confident that the total legitimacy of the actions of our client and the authenticity of the works seized from him will be recognized.
19/06/2019 All my paintings are genuine, from today it's more difficult to do exhibitions in Italy. For the first time, Guttmann agrees to answer questions of a journalist.
- Below are the most interesting and unpublished parts of this article that is published alongside in an integral form -
Joseph Guttmann, the experts of the Public Prosecutor's Office say your paintings are "crude fakes".
"And I am very negatively impressed by the methodologies used, the arguments and the contradictions of the numerous reports filed by - curiously numerous - experts nominated by the prosecutors, this is not the level of competence one would expect when dealing with an artist world-famous as Modigliani. According to the illustrious team of experts we turned to, all of Modigliani's paintings and drawings are perfectly genuine".
Beyond the appraisals, for the Prosecutor Office and Carabinieri you are "the mind" behind many of the alleged Modigliani fakes seized.
"This absurd claim is based on statements by Mr. Restellini, a total and false invention, having himself admitted to the Carabinieri that he had no proofs in this regard. This is shown in the report of his interrogation".
In the investigations the deposition of Marc Restellini were collected, but also of the other expert Christian Parisot ...
"I met Mr. Parisot and consider him an important historian and scholar, who contributed to our knowledge on Modigliani works. But the battle intensified when Mr. Restellini decided to enter in the field, trying by all means to destroy the reputation of anyone who found himself in his way. I do not consider myself an expert on Modigliani, but apparently he sees me as a threat, having in fact led a battle against me."
How did you live the day of the seizure of the works and interrogation by FBI agents?
"I was very upset by the news of the seizure, for me it is totally unjustified and I am totally extraneous to any questions concerning the authenticity of the paintings. I have only lent a couple of my works and facilitated the loans of other collectors of my acquaintance, and I was completely entrusted myself to the organizers of the exibithion and naturally to the competence of Mr. Chiappini, great expert of Modigliani. I had no problems collaborating with the FBI and providing them the requested information. However I want to point out that I have never been formally questioned by the FBI, but I have only answered to some questions that have asked me, without the presence of my lawyers. While in Italy, although requested, the prosecutor has not granted me the translation of procedural documents that allow me to understand the charges to me addressed".
Why did you make pressing requests to have a document of immunity from the seizure of the works lent to Palazzo Ducale?
"Because Modigliani is born in Italy and much loved also, so me and my collector friends were worried about the possible attempts by the Italian State to hold back the works on the national territory based on the laws on the protection of the cultural heritage. Furthermore, since Italy - unlike most other developed countries - does not have an immunity law from seizing works lent from abroad, the only way to be reassured is to obtain a so-called "comfort letter" which guaranteed their return at the end of the exhibition ".
Carlo Pepi has contributed to the opening of the investigation. Do you know him?
"No, I don't know Carlo Pepi, I've never met him, I've never read or seen any contribution or publication made by him on Modigliani (the same consideration released by Chiappini at the time). Certainly, I don't consider him a Modigliani expert or a connoisseur of the Master. What I have recently discovered about him is that he was subjected to an investigation for trying to authenticate some alleged works by Modigliani, in particular the heads carved, a process in which he was later acquitted also for the impossibility of establishing with certainty if those works were genuine or fake" (learn more "Amedeo Modigliani, the stumbling blocks").
22/09/2020 The trial for the Modigliani fakes discovered in Genoa is postponed to January 21, 2021 (ANSA)
22/01/2021 Modigliani fakes, a witness reveals: "The curator tried to sell a canvas"
It is March 16, 2017, the day of the inauguration of the exhibition on Modigliani at Palazzo Ducale. Rudy Chiappini, director of the Lugano Museum of Modern Art for 20 years and curator of the Genoa's exhibition, is in front of the painting "Portrait of Chaime Soutine". It wason display - says the catalog - in Paris, Pisa and Turin also. Together with him there is a Ligurian art critic, Alessandro Pernecco. As he told later to the Carabinieri of the Cultural Heritage Protection Unit, Chiappini tells to Pernecco that the painting is for sale, and ask if he could find some potential buyer for it. According to the Prosecutor's Office, this is further proof of Chiappini's willingness to use the exhibition to "legitimate" a fake painting to increase its value, in order to obtain as much money as possible from the deal. And it is one of the elements, until now unpublished, that will be discussed in the next hearings of a process that can rewrite the history of the works involved, with enormous interests at stake. Yesterday, in the first hearing at the Magazzini del Cotone, the judge Massimo Deplano admitted Palazzo Ducale and three consumer associations: Codacons, Assoutenti and Adoc Liguria as civil parties. Among the under investigation persons there's "Pedro" Pedrazzini, a Swiss sculptor, owner of the "Portrait of Chaime Soutine". This person, according to investigators coordinated by Deputy Prosecutor Massimo D'Ovidio, with the complicity of Chiappini, placed the work like authentic, even though he knew it was fake. In this regard, Alessandro Pernecco - completely unrelated to the investigation - confirms that he was heard by the carabinieri, recalls "the dialogue with Chiappini on the day of the inauguration" and how "I had already identified two or three possible buyers, abroad. The price of the work in my opinion could fluctuate between 2.5 and 4 million euros. Obviously, nobody told me who was the owner of the painting, and I couldn't imagine that in an exhibition curated by a personality known like Chiappini there could be fakes».
28/01/2021 The inquiry of Falò, with unpublished testimonies and documents, tells the facts and reveals news on the background of the Genoa's scandal exhibition. In this extraordinary TV report by Gianni Gaggini for the CSR Swiss Radiotelevision, the declaration of the Ambrogio Ceroni's daughter released to the carabinieri on 18/04/2018 is mentioned. Anna Ceroni says that inside the binders in which his father archived the photos of the works that he didn't consider attributable to Modigliani, she has found those of four works exhibited in the Genoa exhibition. Regarding the authentication certificate by her mother Angela Ceroni, to which is attribuited the letter in which she declared the authenticity of the nude Celine Howard, she judges fakes both the signature and the handwriting, and continues "as far as I know, my mother has never released any authentication certificate, nor she has issued declarations with attestations of archiving of Modigliani's works previously carried out by my father Ambrogio Ceroni».
29/01/2021 'That work is fake' The curator 'knew and wanted to sell it'
According to the Genoa Public Prosecutor's Office, the curator Rudy Chiappini, not only had personally taken steps to find a buyer for the "Portrait of Chaim Soutine", but he also knew that the painting had been rejected for two times by Marc Restellini. And not only he exposed it anyway, but he also moved to place it on the art market - it is always the accusation's thesis - with the owner. As reported in the previous article by Repubblica, Chiappini on the opening day of the exhibition approached the Ligurian art critic Alessandro Pernecco, asking if he could find any collectors interested to buy that work. And Pernecco - who is not involved in the investigation - had also found a potential buyer, ready to pay around 4 million euros as soon as the exhibition ended. Words confirmed to the carabinieri of the Cultural Heritage Protection, and also spoken in front of the cameras of the inquiry program "Falò" for the RSI (Swiss Radio-Television). From the new investigation documents, however, much more turns out. In other words, before the Genoese exhibition began, Pedrazzini had two expert reports in his hands that confirmed the work was fake. They are both by Marc Restellini, one of Modigliani's leading experts and one of the great accusers in this trial. Pedrazzini himself explains the genesis of the double expertises. Heard by letters rogatory in Switzerland, he explained to the investigators that he had asked Restellini for an initial report in 2005, despite the fact that he had three other "favorable judgements" in his hands: «My intention - Pedrazzini says - was to legitimize the paternity of the work with the study of the most important expert in the sector». But things are not going well: Restellini rejects that work. Two years later the painting was submitted to Christian Parisot, who instead seems to see it in the opposite way. Yet in 2016 Pedrazzini pulls out 20 thousand euros and asks Restellini for a new expertise, «to re-evaluate the painting with the elements he had not taken into consideration in the 2005 report». But the result does not change: in fact, for Restellini that is a daub. The verdict arrives on January 25, 2017, a few weeks before the Genoa's exhibition opening. Here the curator of the exhibition, Rudy Chiappini, get in the game. The investigators, in the PC seized from Pedrazzini, found a reminder of a meeting in Como between the two and their respective lawyers, in which it is written that «the Restellini report was received by the owner at the beginning of 2017, shortly before the start of the exhibition. Chiappini was immediately informed». Pedrazzini, who at first denied having told Chiappini about Restellini's expertises report, then he made a partial change of his story: «It may well be that I told Chiappini later when the painting had already left for the Genoa exhibition».
30/01/2021 La Regione publishes an article in which an important detail that emerged from the Falò TV program is reported: in October 2016, a few months before the opening of the Genoa exhibition, Chiappini had communicated to Skira the will to not appear as a curator. For Skira it was not an attempt by Chiappini to not compromise himself: the ex director of the Servizi Culturali of Locarno had alleged «Issues of a Personal Nature». To justify the step backwards, it was necessary to find «a correct and plausible expedient». No sooner said than done: a committee had been created in which, with Chiappini, also included Stefano Zuffi (art historian and co-curator) and Dominique Viéville. So the Chiappini's salary was resized from 50.000 euros + bonuses (based on the number of visitors) to around 10.500 euros. In truth, Chiappini would have continued to be the only curator with full compensation, but, according to Skira, he had asked that the difference in fees it be given him the following year, with others aspects of the exhibition not related to the curatorship. The hypothesis is that he did it for tax reasons.
The curator Chiappini and Pedro Pedrazzini are interviewed. This is Chiappini's statement: «As regards the Genoa exhibition, I reiterate the total correctness of my work and the conservative choice of exhibiting works that have already been inserted and exhibited several times in international exhibitions». The former director of the Cultural Services of Locarno does not add anything else on the matter for which he is being investigated, but criticizes «the brazen way in which the RSI has embraced the accusation's theses». This is because «the counterparties are currently unable, for obvious reasons of confidentiality, to reveal all their cards and documents, which will be presented only in the appropriate place: the game was therefore not played on equal terms. In any case, the debates take place in the courtrooms and not on TV». But as La Regione rightly points out, Falò has correctly given space to several voices in his defense and Pedrazzini's, both through Chiappini's lawyer (nobody forced him to be interviewed), and by Paolo Blendinger, an art appraiser hired by both subjects. However, speaking of the need for fairness and neutrality, Chiappini points out that «if we refer to a negative report on a work, it is necessary, in order to provide correct information, to take also in account for the positive appraisals and also show the important art history of the work. This was not done. And if documents are shown, it is necessary to present them in their entirety and not only through an excerpt, especially if this is then interpreted in an absolutely wrong and misleading way».
Of the same opinion is Pedro Pedrazzini. At the newspaper La Regione, at first with formal tones, the artist premises that «various inaccuracies emerge from the Falò report, which will be challenged by my lawyers in the trial». But then he enter into the central theme of the matter: that of authentications, that is, of the expertises carried out on the works. «There are not only those of Restellini, who are given a sort of license of infallibility. There are also others, equally authoritative, who say very different things. The problem is always which judgements you want to take for right. In art we are often witnessing to a battles between experts from different schools, and for the outsiders it is easy to fall into confusion». Pedrazzini talks about the work of three experts who took a positive view over the "Portrait of Chaim Soutine": among them, «the one who was Restellini's teacher (nonsense already disavowed on this page and in a recent article in Il Secolo XIX) that is to say Christian Parisot, a Modigliani expert of international prestige like Restellini. The two no longer get along and what one says is easily refuted by the other. I unfortunately found myself in the middle of it». Through Facebook I felt like responding to Pedro Pedrazzini. Among the comments there is also a clarification of an art historian and restorer who replies to Paolo Blendinger according to which some possible restorations on the seized works could have compromised the results of the scientific analyzes performed by the experts appointed by the Prosecutor's Office.
06/03/2021 Fake Modigliani works, the curator counterattacks asking "A super-expertise on the seized canvases".
It was Chiappini's lawyer, Mario Venco, who asked for another expertise to the judge. Not only on the twenty paintings, but on the genesis of the exhibition and its set up also. The lawyer recalled the possible absence of the right standards and rules about how to organize an exhibition. But that there are recognized international standards. And he would like the judge would ask for an information to understand if these have been followed and if the organization of the exhibition has been done correctly. Judge Massimo Deplano was clear. He will decide based on the evaluation of the documents presented as proofs. Once these have been studied and clarified whether or not to accept them in the trial, he will choose what to do for the appraisal. He'll talk about it in two weeks.
STOP TO THE FBI INVESTIGATIONS: Among the many activities carried out by the investigators in recent years, there was also the interrogation of Guttmann, who resides in New York, obtained by rogatory with the collaboration of the FBI. As well as other investigations carried out overseas by agents of the Federal bureau. But according to his lawyers, Boggio and Sterpi, those acts would have been carried out in a way that did not fully comply with the legal requirements. And that’s why they got to see them kicked out of the process. Otherwise to the inquiries, always by letters rogatory, performed by the Swiss authorities in respect of Chiappini, following the suggestions supplied by the Genoa Prosecutor’s Office.
20/03/2021 Twelve canvases out of the twenty seized after the Modigliani exhibition in 2017 have been entrusted to Palazzo Ducale by the American art collector Joseph Guttmann. Two are of him. For most of the other works, for which Guttmann had acted as an intermediary, the carabinieri were unable to obtain documents certifying their provenance, nor to identify or contact the real owners. No one, in these four years in which the paintings have been seized, has come forward to claim them. This is what Lieutenant Mario Vicedomini, the investigator of the Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Rome, who followed the investigation, said at the inquiry. «For several paintings made available by Guttman but not owned by him, we have not received documentation about their movements before they got in Genoa - explained the lieutenant - and we have not found the owners. In two cases, for example, reference is made to Haim Lowenthal, who lives in Israel. But the international letters rogatory to contact him had no answers». It is not excluded that, behind what are identified as suspicious silences, there is also a certain reluctance from the owners to show themselves. Asked by the prosecutor if anyone has ever claimed the paintings, the investigator's reply was: "No!" The lieutenant, with regard to the canvases also attributed to Kisling, recalled how the provenance of the work "Atelier Kisling" was indicated in the important collection of the Russian Sergei Ivanovich Shchukin, but that at the same time, the latter's nephew, André Marc Delocque Fourcard, had ruled out through an email sent to the carabinieri that his grandfather had ever owned paintings by Modigliani or Kisling. And that in August 1918 he had left his native country to take refuge in Weimar and then in France. While his entire collection was nationalized by Lenin's decree of November 8, 1918 and is now exhibited in the museums of St. Petersburg and Moscow.
It was 06/28/2017 when Gloria Fossi, one of the art historians who accepted Carlo Pepi's call to take sides on the Genoa scandal, denied the possibility that the works that had been seized could be part of from the Shchukin collection.
15/05/202 Fakes Modigliani: heard the first witnesses in the trial.
A witness is heard in the trial. He is an old self-taught scholar of the artist and, before the inauguration of the Genoa's exhibition, he had sent an email to Carlo Pepi in which he expressed his doubts about the authenticity of various works, such as "Maria" and the "Reclining Nude" or "Portrait of Celine Howard". Doubts confirmed by his interlocutor: «Pepi answered me shortly after, saying that my suspicion was well founded. Then, after a few days, he wrote me that he reported the case to the carabinieri». The tempers run high with the testimony of Leo Lecci, researcher of contemporary art history at the University of Genoa and future associate professor, as well as editor of the book «Modigliani. Dal vero. Testimonianze inedite e rare raccolte e annotate da Enzo Maiolino». "I did not see the exhibition because the catalog was enough for me to understand that many paintings were not genuine", he also underlined some documentary inconsistencies (already expressed by myself and reported on this page). For example the "Red Caryatid", which according to the exhibition catalog is published in Ceroni: " In truth they are two different works". According to Lecci, the inscription «Soutine» on the homonymous "Portrait" is doubtful. But for the lawyers, it re-emerged after a restoration. Divergence of opinion are not lacking even with Alessandro Pernecco, consultant of a Genoese auction house. Called to the court by the prosecutor because he would have received by Rudy Chiappini the request to try to sell a work on display, "Portrait of Chaim Soutine". «At the inauguration we were taking a tour together - says Pernecco - and Chiappini told me that he had a friend who would have liked to sell the painting. I explained him I could take care of it and he sent me the certificates of authenticity. There was an interest on, but we had to wait for the end of the exhibition for the negotiation. After what happened, all is over. ' The trial go on with some hesitation. Until Chiappini's lawyer, Mario Venco, ask him: "Do you know the prospective buyers?". First "no". Then the figure of one or more brokers appears. "Can you tell us who they are?" Other "no". So the judge blurts out: "You must tell us, there is no professional secrecy." Pernecco, probably wishing to protect the confidentiality of his contacts, explains that «I know the mediator as Galiani. Name and telephone number? I will communicate it to the court, I don't have them with me».
29/05/2021 Genoa – "surreal and messy" signatures, "inexpressive and fixed" gazes, artfully aged canvases and materials "incompatible at the time of Modigliani", but also a "fake posthumous" like the Head of a Woman - Portrait by Hanka Zborowska, a painting begun by Modigliani but finished by others. This is what emerged during the examination of Isabella Quattrocchi, the expert appointed by the Genoa prosecutor in the investigation on the 20 paintings exhibited in Palazzo Ducale. At least for the moment, about Head of a Woman - Portrait by Hanka Zborowska, we do not know what would be the evidences to support this hypothesis, but we hope that all become public knowledge to check. For the lawyers of the accused, however, the teacher would not be reliable as evidenced by a sentence of the Milan court on the affair of the works of the Milanese artist Eduarda Maino, known as ‘Dadamaino’. We don't know what the lawyers of the accused are referring to but this seems like an attempt to discredit Isabella Quattrocchi's reputation with issues that have nothing to do with Modigliani.
10/07/2021 During the third hearing for Isabella Quattrocchi, the prosecutor's consultant has backtracked regarding her opinion about the exhibition's illumination aimed to masking fake paintings: «It was an evaluation of the moment. I don't confirm it», she said answering to the questions of the lawyer Giuseppe Mangiameli who represents Mondo Mostre Skira. It is Judge Massimo Deplano himself who recognizes the importance of Quattrocchi's testimony. «The economic implications of the trial are clear», he explains, referring to the possible million-dollar valuations of the paintings. «We are at the second important witness (after Lieutenant Mario Vicedomini). We still have between 100 and 150 people to be heard. We can't risk not ending this process».
25/10/2021 Modigliani trial, the former director of the Culture sector of Genoa: "That signature is not mine".
Today, Friday, October 22, in the courtroom was heard Guido Gandino, the director of the Culture sector of the City at the time. On February 21, 2017 - According to the reconstruction of the Carabinieri of Roma - a document signed by Gandino, entitled "Request for temporary import and guarantee of immediate re-export" had been registered in the municipality of Genoa. So he himself had described it during the investigation to the military: "A routine document, an integral part of the procedure for the importation of works to be exhibited, requested by the staff in charge of Palazzo Ducale, who then handled of forwarding it to the appropriate offices." However, the investigators found a second version of this document. An English translation that had not been recorded, sent to the American collector Joseph Guttmann, now accused, to convince him to lend his paintings (some of which then seized). For the Carabinieri, it was a fake document, built with the logo of the City and the apocryphal signature of Gandino, prepared according to the charges by two other charged: Nicolò Sponzilli and Rosa Fasan (director and employee of Mondo Mostre Skira). Gandino, pressed in the courtroom by Guttmann's lawyers, reiterated that the signature on the English document "looks very different from my usual one." And to the prosecutor D'Ovidio question, if he had ever signed documents in English, his reply was "no." Same answer for another question, whether or not he had signed other City documents similar to the one at the center of the hearing. Judge Massimo Deplano then fined two other absent witnesses with 100 euros but, according to the magistrate, without a legitimate impediment corroborated by valid documentation. In the next hearing, Carlo Pepi, art critic from Livorno and Modigliani's connoisseur, will be heard as a witness. He was the one who provided the first warning to the Carabinieri on the paintings considered by him fakes. And always for next Thursday is expected like witness Christian Parisot, former president of the Modigliani Institut Archives Legales.
28/10/2021 Carlo Pepi: "daub paintings, badly copied by someone unable to draw, very far from the DNA and atmosphere of Modì' works".
These are Carlo Pepi's statements in the Genoa Modigliani's trial. However, Pepi was challenged by the defendants lawyers who did not recognize him as a real expert. The defenders underline how his judgments were only based on the impressions he had looking on the photos on catalogs. After Pepi, Christian Parisot, former president of the Modigliani Archives, was heard. Parisot explained that he visited the exhibition in Genoa and that he had "times of trouble regarding some works that had been restored too intensively, but also regarding some works declared fakes by Kisling's son (painter and Modigliani's friend)". The hypothesis of the investigators is that the goal of the exhibition was to certify fakes to increase their value. That is why the prosecutor D'Ovidio highlights two documents that, according with the prosecution, they underpin the intention of Parisot and the defendant Pedro Pedrazzini to sell the painting of which the latter is the owner: the "Portrait of Chaim Soutine". According to Parisot, it was "restored by an artisanal way, but the work coincide with to the one in the Archives". The magistrate read a Loan Form, at the end of which there is a note which indicates that in case of sale before the end of the exhibition in Genoa, the loan would not have been guaranteed. For the prosecution, it is signed by Pedrazzini and Parisot, so it represent a proof of the sale project. For the defense, Parisot's signature would have been done during the seizure of the document in his house. There is also an email in which Parisot writes to Pedrazzini referring to the sale of a canvas. In the courtroom, Parisot replies: "Never sold works".
My point of view on this article..
19/11/2021 Trial on the fakes Modigliani: it's Marc Restellini in the courtroom. Genoa - That of Marc Restellini is a central role in the investigation - and now in the trial - on the twenty paintings and drawings considered fakes and that had been exhibited at Palazzo Ducale in 2017, as part of the exhibition dedicated to Amedeo Modigliani. Central because he was, along with Carlo Pepi who reported to the Carabinieri and the Genoa Prosecutor's Office the presence of fakes in the Genoese exhibition. Restellini, one of the greatest experts on Modigliani's work, was heard in court as a witness in the trial in front of Judge Massimo Deplano. He was first questioned by the deputy Prosecutor Paolo D'Ovidio who coordinated the investigation carried out by the military of the Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Rome. And then cross-examined by the defenders of the six defendants. Two hearings (Thursday 18, and Friday 19 November) in which there was no lack of moments of close confrontation. In the first session, Judge Deplano first threatened to expel Marc Restellini's personal interpreter from the courtroom after his intervention to point out that the translation provided by the interpreter nominated by the court of Genoa did not reflect the answers given by the French expert at all; at a second moment, the judge expelled another collaborator of the Institut Restellini from the courtroom for the same reason, only to readmit her shortly afterwards, having realized that in fact the two collaborators were right and there was a real translation problem. Contrary to what happened in the second hearing. Restellini reiterated the reasons according to which he had always considered those paintings and drawings impossible to ascribe to the hand of Modigliani and to that of Moïse Kisling, Modì's painter and friend who would have made some of those canvases with him. The defendants' lawyers, however, have long tried to undermine the credibility of Restellini.
4/02/2022 Captain Livia Lombardi of carabinieri of R.I.S. in Rome, convincingly explained why many works seized from the 2017 Modigliani exhibition at Palazzo Ducale would be fake. In many of the 21 paintings seized, the presence of titanium white, a pigment never been identified in the paint layers of genuine works by Modì, was detected. In addition, there were identified other "pigments that are not coherent with the historical period in which the work under examination should have been realized", such as a type of red and blue. The Ris investigations also highlighted the "presence of residues of paper glued along the edges" of a painting which, according to the Carabinieri directed by Livia Lombardi, "it's a typical technique of packaging artistic prints on canvas". For the defense lawyers, these "anomalies" would be due to various restoration works carried out over the course of time on Modigliani's originals (eventual restorations are easily established through diagnostics and chemical-physical analysis, a method certainly used on the canvases by the carabinieri of RIS). According to the defendants' defense, the technique used to analyze the paintings called "Raman" spectroscopy, would not allow to repeat the examination in the same way. Also according to these lawyers, the defendants' consultants should also have participated in the analyses during the investigation. What is their goal is clear: try to make unusable the analyses that would otherwise be a very heavy blow to the defendants. Unfortunately for them, Raman spectroscopy is universally recognized as the most advanced molecular analysis technique currently available for cultural heritage analysis and last but not least, it is a repeatable test. Ansa - ArtsLife - SKYtg24
1/04/2022 The former president of Palazzo Ducale, Luca Borzani, was been heard in court: «My trust in MondoMostre Skira has always been unquestioning. And when the controversy broke out over the Modigliani paintings, even before the seizures, Skira itself confirmed to me that all works in display in Genoa had already been exhibited in other exhibitions as confirmed in the catalogue, by the way. To confirm this, a nude of "Modì" offered by the Mantovani family (former patron of Sampdoria football club) had been rejected because it had never been exhibited before».
It seems clear that this anecdote has been used to prove that there was a careful control about the authenticity of the works to be exhibited, as rightly pointed out by the public prosecutor Paolo D'Ovidio who, rightly, observed that the fact that «if a work was been excluded certainly does not mean that all those on display were authentic. In the same way, according to the prosecution, the prestige and the CV of the organisers of the Genoese event cannot be automatically serve as a guarantee». In addition, we have to add an obvious consideration: a fake work remains so independently from the times - and the place - it was been exposed...
ultimo aggiornamento: 1/04/2022