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Famous forged paintings expected to fetch thousands at Lichfield auction

By Megan Archer | Lichfield | Staffordshire entertainment | Published: | Last Updated:

Paintings by one of the 20th century’s greatest forgers are coming up for auction at Lichfield in January.

‘Genuine Fakes’ by Staffordshire-based John Myatt, who was sentenced to a year behind bars in 1999 for his part in what was christened the 20th century's biggest contemporary art fraud, are part of Richard Winterton’s specialist pictures sale on January 8 at The Lichfield Auction Centre.

Three of Myatt’s replicas are offered in the auction. Henri Matisse’s ‘Algerian Nude’, signed ‘John Myatt Genuine Fakes’, is dated 2000 – the year after Myatt was released from prison after serving four months.

There is also a fake of Marc Chagall’s ‘Flowers By Moonlight’ dated 2001 and a replica of Alberto Giacometti’s ‘Portrait Of Annette’ on a canvas dating back to 2000 but over-painted in 2009.

Myatt’s fake of Marc Chagall’s ‘Flowers By Moonlight’ is dated 2001.

The ‘Matisse’ and the ‘Chagall’ are each valued at up to £2,000.

The ‘Giacometti’, which has been exhibited at West Mercia Police Academy, is estimated to fetch £2,500.

On the back, the picture bears a personalised inscription to John Anderson – another Staffordshire artist who also paints in the style of 20th century masters.

Included in the sale is Anderson’s version of Monet’s ‘The Water Lily Pond’.

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A total of 27 works by Anderson also feature in the same auction. There are copies of works by famous masters including Matisse, Degas, Monet, Giacometti, Henri Rouseau and LS Lowry.

But while Myatt’s paintings – despite being created with a blend of Dulux emulsion paint and KY Jelly – are perfect replicas, Anderson’s work is characterised by changes ranging from subtle to considerable.

Included in the sale is Anderson’s version of Monet’s ‘The Water Lily Pond’, possibly one of the most famous pictures of the 20th century.

John Myatt’s replica of Alberto Giacometti’s ‘Portrait Of Annette’ was exhibited at West Mercia Police Academy.

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David Fergus, decorative arts valuer at Richard Winterton Auctioneers, said: "“With Anderson’s work, there is always some detail that’s slightly different.

“On one Lowry picture the original has a man leaning backwards. In Anderson’s version, he is missing.

"And on the Lowry ‘A Procession’, there’s a marching band in the distance. On this painting by Anderson, it isn’t there at all – the whole point of the picture is missing.

"The procession is not there and neither is half the crowd. There’s no way anyone is going to mistake if for the real thing."

This replica of Henri Matisse’s ‘Algerian Nude’ is signed ‘John Myatt Genuine Fakes’ and dated 2000, the year after the master forger was released from prison.

Mr Fergus added: "John Myatt is considered one of the greatest master forgers of the 20th century.

“His paintings are so good legend has it there are some 120 hanging in galleries all around the world but no-one knows for sure.

“Whether it’s Myatt’s uncanny reproductions or Anderson’s knowing replicas, this auction is a great opportunity to get something as good as the real thing at a fraction of the price.”

The January 8 auction – the first day of a three-day sale – will start with a specialist jewellery sale at 9.30am, with pictures from noon.

Viewing is on Saturday, January 5 from 9.30am until 12pm on Monday, January 7 from 9am-4pm and on the day of sale from 8.30am.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk.

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