- 2018年06月07日10:32 来源：互联网
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A master forger's works are auctioned
THE sale of more than 200 drawings on October 22nd by a small auction house near Salisbury in south-west England has threatened to open old wounds in the art world. The works were by Eric Hebborn, a master forger.
Few have heard of Hebborn, but many museum-goers may have seen his handiwork, masquerading as old masters at major galleries around the world. He claimed his forgeries found homes in the world's most famous museums, though some friends, and enemies, disputed this. Some in the art world fear that the newly auctioned sketches, collected by his sister after he was murdered in Rome in 1996, could prove to be preliminary drawings which would reveal other major fakes. “This auction is going to open a very large can of worms,” says Simon Wingett, who auctioned Hebborn's works at Webbs of Wilton this week.
Born into a working-class London family in 1934, Hebborn won prizes as a student at the Royal Academy, but his own art brought him little acclaim, leading to suggestions that forgery was his means of revenge on a snooty art elite. Hebborn maintained that dealers were interested in money not art, claiming one paid him ￡750 for a forgery that he sold on for ￡90,000. As for art historians, “they just want to get a knighthood for knowing a lot about Rembrandt”. Art itself was neglected, he believed. He dismissed claims he was a crook, saying he, like many before him, simply made imitations.
He is thought to have produced about 1,000 forgeries over the course of his life, sold on by bamboozled dealers as the work of Rubens, Van Dyck, Brueghel and others. In 1978, a curator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, noticed that two drawings purchased from Colnaghi, a reputable dealer in London, were on the same kind of paper. The dealer admitted to having been duped, and prices on the London market for master drawings fell. In 1984 Hebborn confessed to having forged them and others. But he was never charged; the dealers and experts were too worried about rocking the market and exposing their own ignorance.
Though few people could tell the difference between his forgeries and the originals, there remains a difference in price. At Sotheby's in New York earlier this year, a painting by Brueghel fetched $5.2m. Hebborn's most expensive sketch this week went for ￡2,600.