The Art Institute of Chicago announced yesterday that the Gauguin ceramic sculpture “The Faun” which has been on display for about a decade is infact a forgery by Shaun Greenhalgh who is part of a larger family of forgers that has been under investigation by Scotland Yard for some time.
The Museum purchased the sculpture form a private dealer in London, who in turn bought it from a Sotheby’s auction in 1994.
Shaun Greenhalgh received a prison sentence of 4 years and 8 months last month. His mother, Olive, 83, was given a 12-month suspended sentence. The father, George, 84, broker of all the forged objects, had a deferred sentence pending medical reports.
For 17 years, the family carried on one of the most sophisticated forgery operations in modern history, faking scores of objects including antiquities, watercolors, paintings and modern sculpture, authorities said. Many of the pieces were copies of ancient objects or artworks thought to be lost.
UPDATE The Art Newspaper has published that the purchase price of the sculpture that the Art Institute would not like to declare was $125,000. The London dealer that sold it to the Institute bought the piece in 1994 for Â£20,700 or $42,382. Making a profit of $82,618 on the transaction.