When Picasso faked it

Behind the scenes at The Art Museum
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Pablo Picasso, 'Portrait of Dora Maar' (1937) (left) and 'Woman with Pears (Fernande)' (1909) (right)
Pablo Picasso, 'Portrait of Dora Maar' (1937) (left) and 'Woman with Pears (Fernande)' (1909) (right)

Picasso was one of the most prolific artists the world has known, producing some 50,000 pieces during his lifetime. He worked in media as diverse as pottery and collage, and was comfortable working in a number of distinct styles, such as Cubism and Neo-classicism. He remains arguably the most successful artist in the world by any number of measures. In fact, he painted 10 of the top 40 most expensive artworks of all time, considerably more than any other artist on the list. His work is by far the most commonly featured in art books; The Art Museum itself contains 23 Picassos, almost twice as many images as any other single artist.

Picasso, <em>Seated Woman (Portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter)</em> (1937)

Picasso, Seated Woman (Portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter) (1937)

His work is also the most frequently stolen - the Art Loss Register contains around 550 of his artworks. Moreover, his work is also notorious for being frequently faked; a trend which Picasso himself commented on with his usual panache.

When a supposed Picasso fell into the hands of one of his avid collectors, he took it to the artist in order for him to authenticate it in person. Unfortunately, Picasso took one look at it and disowned it. Disappointed, the collector bought another Picasso and showed it to him; this, too, Picasso said was fake. Finally, the collector decided to watch Picasso himself make a painting, so that he could be sure of its authenticity. Unfortunately, Picasso once again declared the painting to be fake once it was in the collector’s hands. “But I saw you paint this one with my own eyes,” the collector protested. “I can paint a fake Picasso better than anyone,” the painter replied, deadpan.

Follow the link to The Art Museum to find out more


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