Editors Note: "The painting came from French art collector Giuliano Ruffini" aka Pepé Le Pew....
Christie's opted not to sell the suspect canvas.
The apparently-fake Frans Hals currently at the center of the art world’s unfolding Old Master forgery scandal may have fooled the experts, but Christie’s Paris had “doubts” about the canvas and actually declined to sell it.
Christie’s communications director Belinda Bowring confirmed these “doubts” in a phone conversation with artnet News, noting that “it did come into us, but we in the end passed on it” because they weren’t satisfied with the provenance and attribution.
When Sotheby’s sold the painting for $10 million in a 2011 private sale, the canvas had been vetted by France’s Center for Research and Restoration as an authentic Old Master. The French government had called the previously-undiscovered work “un trésor national” and banned its export to the UK, giving the Louvre the opportunity to purchase it for €5 million ($7.25 million).
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