A MASTER forger has claimed he is the man behind a “Picasso” painting thought to be worth £1 million – but was bought for just £230.
The artwork, an “early version of Picasso’s Seated Bather”, was bought by antiques collector Philip Stapleton at a car boot sale months ago and he decided to try to auction it off.
Andrew Potter, auctioneer and owner of Brighton and Hove Auction House with the suspected Picasso painting[/caption]
He initially thought it was a fake and left it at home – but he took it to Brighton and Hove Auction Rooms in East Sussex where experts said it could be real.
They say it could be an early draft of the 1930 painting by the world-renowned Spanish artist because it has a signature on the back which appears to have been penned many years ago.
It is believed to have been produced between 1915 and 1918.
But now David Henty, a famous master forger who has made a living out of selling art for thousands – including replicas of Picasso’s work – insists he is behind it.
Henty told the Brighton Argus newspaper: “It’s definitely mine.
‘IT’S DEFINITELY MINE’
“It’s just one I gave away about three years ago.
“The inscriptions on the back give it away. the stencils and the Roland Penrose bit.
“I had another similar one I gave to a friend a while ago.
“I only did it for a bit of fun.
“I wasn’t planning on selling it, I just painted it for pleasure.”
He said the auction house has not tried to authenticate the work, adding: “There’s no reserve on a painting that they claim is worth one million pounds.
“You wonder if they’ve done due diligence on it.”
CAR BOOT SALE PURCHASE
Mr Stapleton bought the painting at a car boot sale in Crawley, West Sussex, and also on the back of it is a message addressed to Roland Penrose – a close friend of
Picasso’s who lived in the East Sussex village of Chiddingly.
He previously told the Brighton Argus: “I’ve been collecting antiques for a few years, but I rarely pick up artwork.
“I just had a good feeling about it. At first it looked like a fake.
“I picked it up and looked at the back and there was an inscription at the bottom that interested me. Even if it was a fake I thought it was worth buying.
“But now everything seems to add up to it being real.
“It could be phenomenal.
“Five thousand pounds is a lot of money to me, I’d be happy with that.
“It could bomb out on the day or go for far more.”
Hitting back at Henty’s claims, Rosie May, of Brighton and Hove Auction Rooms, said: “It’s great if it’s true. It’s a mystery solved.
“But he’s made money out of lying about paintings, so I don’t believe a word he says.
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“I’m not surprised he’s said it’s his.
“If I wanted to know my bank details I’d listen to my bank manager over Ronnie Biggs.
“But I think it’s sad to stamp on someone’s possibility of good fortune.”
He initially thought it was a fake and left it at home – but he took it to Brighton and Hove Auction Rooms in East Sussex where experts said it could be real[/caption]
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