Friday, July 13, 2012

The Famous Forger Fooled Us!

In 2007, a man named Mark Landis called the museum and wanted to donate a work of art in honor of his father, who was from Lexington. He sent us the watercolor, supposedly by Paul Signac, along with a copy of the page for the Christies' catalogue when the piece was purchased.  With this verification we accepted this gift. We later accepted a painting from him as well, at a meeting in Laurel Mississippi.

Meeting with Mark Landis, 2007
Fake catalogue page

When we saw "our" Signac pictured in another museum's newsletter as a gift from him, we knew he had swindled someone.  But what was real? Our registrar Barbara Lovejoy, who has an eye for meticulous detail, has always maintained that the one he sent us was exactly like the one in the catalogue! As more stories came out and the frauds were exposed, she kept wondering. Now she has obtained an copy of the original catalogue and can see that he faked the catalogue page as well, putting a photo of his fake copy over the real Signac.  Now we are wondering where the real one is! It's always something......

3 comments:

Maggie Abbott said...

That is amazing. I read about the Faux Real exhibition in Cincinnati and I think it's amazing how long this guy got away with it. You'll definitely have to keep the painting as an art historical example of forgery.

Anonymous said...

I had notified the museum of Landis in 2008 about the Signac and later the oil on panel by Stanlias Lepine but they did not believe me. Now that i have been tracking him, he now has four alias and his last move was in February 2012. I curated an exhibition at the University of Cincinnati this year called FAUX Real. Matt Leininger m.leininger@hotmail.com

The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky said...

It is not that we did not believe you, exactly. We just did ot publish or respond. I thibn kit's great that you did the exhibiton and keep tracking him.