Fake or Fortune? saw one of its most complex and difficult to prove case ever rehashed in last night’s (Thursday, August 22nd) episode.
The case saw Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould travel across Europe to figure out whether an abstract white square is actually one of Giacometti’s earliest and boldest works. Considering that his Pointing Man figure is the most expensive sculpture to ever be sold – for $141 million in 2015 – then there’s a lot of money at stake!
So what happened after the Giacometti sculpture was first deemed “worthless” and how did they uncover it was an original?
Here’s an update on what happened between the show’s first broadcast and the updated episode which aired last night.
What happened in Fake or Fortune?
Fake or Fortune? saw the case of Giacometti sculpture rehashed in last night’s episode. It originally aired on September 9th, 2018 but a conclusion was not reached about whether the sculpture was a fake or the real deal.
Giacometti’s sculptures are some of the most sought-after in the world and thousands of fakes have been produced, making the authentication task incredibly hard for art dealers.
Claire Clark-Hall and her daughter Henrietta Plunkett brought Giacometti’s Tête qui regarde (The Gazing Head) to the Fake or Fortune? team to see if it was, in fact, authentic. It had been passed down through the family from Claire’s mother, who had been working and modelling in Paris during Giacometti’s early days as an abstract sculptor. Claire’s mother had even sat for French avant-garde painter André Derain.
When the episode first broadcast, the Giacometti Committee in Paris were unable to confirm its authenticity. The said: “Unfortunately, complicated cases like your plaster take time to be examined. A decision will be given when the Committee is ready. No authorization will be given before this.”
Giacometti update on Fake or Fortune?
The episode was updated one year after it was first broadcast as evidence that it was, in fact, an original Giacometti had come to light.
Rather than add an updated scene with the show’s presenters or the Clark-Hall family, BBC copped out and bolted on an update at the end of the show.
They concluded that further investigations into Gazing Head revealed a signature on the back which read ‘Alberto Giacometti 1928.’
After removing layers of filler and paint that had been added to repair the plaster piece – it had been broken numerous times, including once by the cat! – the signature was revealed.
— Robert Thompson (@thomprobert) August 22, 2019
How much did the Giacometti sculpture sell for?
In February 2019, Christie’s sold Gazing Head as an original work of Giacometti’s for a whopping £587,250.
You can see the full restored sculpture in detail here.
As with auction houses, it is unknown who the buyer is but whoever shelled out half a million for the Giacometti must be a real fan with big bucks!
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