Half Paintings in French Museum are False. A museum in the French Pyrenees, dedicated to the work of the painter Etienne Terrus, has made a startling discovery: more than half of the collection is false. The management was then directed by an art historian who paid a visit to the museum.
The mayor of Elne, where the museum is located, is embarrassed. He called it a ‘disaster’ yesterday and apologised to all those tourists who have visited the museum over the past decades.
The municipality has purchased the paintings, drawings and watercolours that have been exhibited in the museum in about twenty years. Terrus (1857-1922), befriended by the much more famous painter Henri Matisse, was born in the southern French town. The museum brought out the bad news yesterday, just when the museum was reopened after a renovation.
Only a few months ago it was informed by an art historian of the deception. An investigation from experts then pointed out that others did 82 works attributed to Terrus. All in all, the works of art have cost the municipality some 160,000 euros.
The police have the matter under investigation. A complaint has been filed against people who painted or sold the false works or commissioned them to do so. In some cases, it turned out to be very easy to discover: the paintings depict buildings that were only built after Terry’s death.