Gauguin Art Is A Fake

A sculpture by French artist Paul Gauguin which has drawn crowds to a Chicago museum for the past decade is a fake by a notorious British art counterfeiter, museum officials said Wednesday. The ceramic sculpture "The Faun" supposedly by the 19th century French artist was bought from a private art collector in London in 1997, who had purchased it at a 1994 Sotheby's art auction. A spokeswoman declined to divulge how much the Art Institute of Chicago had paid for the sculpture, which has been on display at the museum for 10 years. "We were very disappointed, but also very impressed not only by the very, very good forgery of the object but also by all the paperwork that identified its origin and its former owners," said spokeswoman Erin Hogan. It turns out that the sculpture is a forgery by 47 year old forger Shaun Greenhalgh, who was jailed for four years and eight months by a Manchester court last month. Greenhalgh and his elderly parents had made a small fortune and fooled art experts since 1989 by faking artworks in their small house in Bolton, northwest England. Shaun did most of the artwork while his father played the salesman. Detectives said they may have made some 120 pieces with a total potential value of more than 20 million dollars, though their actual profits were less than 1.2 million dollars. Greenhalgh, his father George, and mother Olive pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud art institutions. His mother was given a suspended 12-month prison sentence, while his father has yet to be sentenced.