It’s a Fake – Not a £20 Million El Greco Portrait
Lady in a Fur Wrap, a painting long believed to be an early portrait by El Greco – the Spanish-based Greek artist Domenikos Theotokopoulos – painted in Toledo, Spain, has been declared a fake by Antonio Garcia in a 60-page report, according to Scotland’s Daily Record and other media outlets. Garcia was culture editor for Spain’s El Mundo newspaper for 20 years and spent two years investigating the painting.
The work is “part of the Glasgow Museums collection and is usually displayed at the city’s Pollok House,” but is currently “on loan to the Museo de Santa Cruz in the Spanish city of Toledo for an exhibition marking the 400th anniversary of the artist’s death.”
Garcia is very pointed in his criticism and “has accused Glasgow council chiefs of blocking scientific tests, which were requested a decade ago, to find out the truth.” According to the article, Garcia said: “Anyone – no matter how few of El Greco’s works they may have seen and without being in any way an art expert – can see that the colours used and the perfect facial features in the portrait of this enigmatic lady have nothing to do with the style of El Greco.”
By way of background:
The painting was bought by Sir William Stirling Maxwell for £1857 in 1853 and gifted to the city in 1966.
The painting was discovered in Paris 300 years after the death of El Greco …
Garcia said: “It was the first time this work had ever been seen.
“It had never been exhibited anywhere and had never been listed as part of any collection. It was a mysterious appearance that captured the people of Paris.
“At that time, there were probably five or six artists in Spain who could have painted it but none of them were famous.
“I am not in a position to say that whoever painted this work was involved in any deceit. He may well have acted in good faith.”
In a rebuttal:
A spokesman for Glasgow City Council culture body Glasgow Life said: “Within the art world, there are many debates between scholars and academics over the provenance of works and we welcome this contribution as part of that debate.”
Professor Fernando Marias, curator of the current exhibition in Toldeo said, “This could be a restoration and to a certain extent was possibly changed. More a restorer than a faker, but that’s speculation.” He added, “What I can say is that we are having this painting at the Toledo exhibition and we are accepting it as an El Greco.”
Garcia says event though the portrait is not by El Greco, it’s an excellent painting: “Whoever painted it, the Lady in a Fur Wrap is a great work of art and that’s the first thing that should matter, not who signed the picture or its economic value.”