Every picture tells a story, but in Fake or Fortune? valuable paintings are about to be treated as crime scenes. Beyond the genteel galleries and upmarket auction houses of the art world lies a dimension rarely seen – a darker side of incalculable wealth, social ambition and sometimes subterfuge. This engaging four-part mini-series follows a recognized art sleuth, a doctor of history and cutting edge scientists as they join forces to discover the truth behind controversial paintings. From Paris and Amsterdam to Cape Town and New York, they employ old-fashioned detective skills, real-time investigations and the latest forensic testing to reveal compelling tales of lost masterpieces, forgers and Nazi-looted art. Fake or Fortune? airs Monday evenings starting May 4th at 8:55pm. You can watch preview clips on the show’s BBC website.
#101 – Monet, Monet, Monet
In the art world, Monet means money. But in order to make big bucks, paintings thought to be painted by Monet must be accepted into the official register, the “catalogue raisonne” – a five-volume tome which lists every Monet in existence. For the last 18 years, art collector David has been imploring the Wildenstein family who publishes the catalog to accept his painting as a genuine Monet. Despite his research and support of the world’s heavyweight Monet scholars, Guy Wildenstein refuses to accept the painting. Is it or is it not a Monet?
#102 – Lost Picture
Fisherman Tony couldn’t believe his luck when he stumbled upon a pile of pictures apparently dumped at his favorite riverside spot. Fast forward 15 years and Tony, accompanied by his daughter, is told by Philip Mould at a recording of Antiques Roadshow that one of the pictures is an unknown work by Winslow Homer, worth £30,000.
#103 – The Genuine Article
The art world can be a bear pit with a myriad of tricksters at work. Hanging in one of the most prestigious and respected art institutes in London is a picture Philip has heard of, which may hold the key to unlocking the story of the most audacious forger of all time. Is this a forgery from Han Van Meegeren, a man who dared to fake the work of old masters and made millions from his deception until he was caught in 1945?
#104 – Spoils of War
Suspicions are aroused when Philip and his researcher Bendor spot a rogue picture for sale in a South African auction house. It exudes all the classic scent of being a “sleeper,” an important picture that has been miscataloged and offered for a very low price. But there’s a darker side revealed when investigations discover that it is a wanted painting, once thought to have been painted by Rembrandt and stolen by the Nazis during World War II.