Faking Renoir

March 26 2013

Image of Faking Renoir

Picture: New York Times

John Anderson in The New York Times has an interesting piece on how artist Guy Ribes faked a bathc of Renoirs for a forthcoming film on the French master:

To call Mr. Ribes a colorful character is putting it mildly. Born in a brothel to a prostitute mother and a gangster father, he’s a former member of the French Foreign Legion and a lifelong devotee of the great painters. Although he created and sold his own work early on, he also provided paintings “inspired” by the masters to a criminal art ring that sold the paintings as genuine.

Rather than copy known work Mr. Ribes would create work that simulated style, paintings that might have been done by Picasso or Chagall or Renoir and, say, languished in a private collection before being made available to gullible buyers. For this Mr. Ribes, at the age of 61, was sentenced to three years in prison, getting out in December 2010.

“I was in a rather precarious situation when this project was proposed to me,” Mr. Ribes said by phone from Paris, referring to his post-prison finances. Mr. Bourdos hired him in May 2011 and put him in a studio next to his office, and Mr. Ribes worked for six months on the paintings that appear in the film — not just re-creations of existing Renoirs but also paintings he might have done.

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