Program

Fake or Fortune

Every picture tells a story but none quite like this as paintings are about to be treated as crime scenes! Beyond the genteel galleries and upmarket auction houses of the art world lies a dimension rarely seen -a darker side of incalculable wealth, social ambition, sometimes subterfuge. Now, a recognised arts sleuth, a doctor of history, and cutting edge scientists are joining forces to discover the truth behind paintings with a series of real time investigations. From Paris and Amsterdam to Cape Town, the banks of the Nile, and New York, the team employ old fashioned detective skills and the latest forensic testing to reveal compelling tales of lost masterpieces, forgers and Nazi looted art. Is the world missing out on a Monet? How did a missing work by a leading American artist end up on a rubbish tip? Is a picture in a leading London art institute a fake?

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  • Fake or Fortune - Episode 4 - Rembrandt
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    November 24, 2011

    Suspicions are aroused when Philip and his researcher spot a rogue picture for sale in a South African auction house. It exudes all the classic scent of being a "sleeper"; an important picture that had been miscataloged and offered for a very low price. But there's a darker side revealed when investigations uncover this is a wanted painting, having been stolen by the Nazis in World War Two. Records show it was once recorded as being a German national treasure, having thought to have been painted by Rembrandt. A Jewish family have been trying to track it and other works stolen from their gallery ever since. With minutes to go Philip & Fiona manage to stop the sale and release the picture for investigation. Having picked it up from Cape Town, Fiona delivers it to Philip and an in depth examination utilising the latest infra red and forensic testing begins. Can it really be by Rembrandt and will it be possible to see it returned to its rightful owners? In an effort to solve who painted it Philip travels to Amsterdam to meet a man with the power of a demi god; the chair of the Remrandt committee on whose word hangs the verdict which can make the value differ by many millions of pounds. Fiona meanwhile tries to unpick the thorny question of ownership before finally returning the picture to South Africa when the owner of the disputed painting finally emerges from the shadows to tell his story.

  • Fake or Fortune - Episode 3 - Hans Van Meegeren
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    November 17, 2011

    The art world can prove a bear pit with a myriad of tricksters at work. Experts estimate that anything between 20-40% of works of art on the market are faked. And they can turn up in the most unexpected places. Hanging in one of our most prestigious and respected art institutes in London is a picture Philip has heard of which may hold the key to unlocking the story of the most audacious forger of all time. A man who dared to fake the work of old masters and made millions from his deception until he was caught in 1945;Han Van Meegeren. But a mystery remains to this day as Van Meegeren died before a complete record of his fakes was made. How did he pull off faking old master paintings, duping important art galleries in to making purchases of works apparently by Vermeer, even foxing Goering in to buying one of his works during the war? Philip & Fiona get to work on the London picture which, legend has it, hung in Van Meegeren's studio on the day he was arrested. Was it his last work and by testing it can we prove how he outfoxed some of the most eminent minds in the art world?

  • Fake or Fortune - Episode 2 - Winslow Homer
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    November 10, 2011

    Fisherman Tony couldn't believe his luck when he stumbled upon a cache of pictures apparently dumped at his favourite riverside spot. Fast forward 15 years and Tony, accompanied by his daughter, is told by Philip Mould at a recording of Antiques Roadshow one of the pictures is worth £30,000. It's an unknown work by one of America's most important 19th century artists, Winslow Homer. But how did it end up being dumped in such an unlikely place and who legally owns the picture? As Philip & Fiona investigate, the story takes a series of unexpected turns; in the Bahamas we crack when and why the painting was made and who the mysterious sitters are, whilst in New York an auction house values the picture closer to $250,000 in preparation for sale. But a tense denouement within minutes of the auction turns everything upside down when a mysterious figure arrives and raises even bigger questions for all involved.

  • Fake or Fortune - Episode 1 - Monet
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    November 3, 2011

    In the art world Monet means money. Wealthy collectors will bid tens of millions of pounds to own a painting by this famous impressionist who, perhaps more than any other artist, has managed to captivate the world. But in order to make big bucks paintings thought to be by Monet must have been accepted into the official register; the "catalogue raisonne" - a five volume tome which lists every Monet in existence. The catalogue is published not by an academic institution, but by a family of billionare art collectors, art dealers and racehorse owners; the Wildenstein's. For the last 18 years art collector David has been imploring the Institute to accept his painting as a genuine Monet. Despite his research and support of the world's heavyweight Monet scholars, Guy Wildenstein refuses to accept the painting.Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce join forces with the worlds most prestigious art galleries and research institutes in an effort to prove the attribution of this painting. The challenge? - to gather enough evidence to convince the Wildenstein's to include it in the great book - the Monet catalogue raisonne. A difference that could would make a huge difference to the value of the picture too. Along the way we enlist the help of the worlds greatest art galleries...we follow a fascinating and far-reaching provinence trail which takes us from Monet's beloved banks of the River Seine in Normandy, to a grand mansion on the Nile - home of a wealthy Egyptian collector with an expensive taste in French art. And we enlist the help of the team of scientists who recently discovered a new Leonadro da Vinci work by identifying a fingerprint left by the master himself.

  • Fake or Fortune - Series 3 - Episode 3
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    Internationally renowned art dealer turns sleuth for a third series of Fake or Fortune, exploring the darker side of the arts. Pushing more deeply than ever before with surprising twists and turns, this series offers an unparalleled run of international rollercoaster stories. From art history to some of the latest forensic testing, this is the only series where artistic and detective skills go hand in hand. The Fake or Fortune team delve into the work of some of the best-loved artists - from John Constable, whose popularity has made him a prime target of the forgers, to the catalogue of Vuillard. Great storytelling, exhaustive research, state-of-the-art forensics, real-human drama and jaw-dropping revelations presented by Philip Mould also known in the art world as 'The Master Sleuth' and eminent journalist Fiona Bruce.

  • Fake or Fortune Series 2 - Episode 2
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    In the early years of the 20th century, spinster sisters Gwendoline and Margaret Davies spent much of their vast fortune buying the cream of European art as a gift to the people of Wales. When Gwendoline died in 1951, all the paintings in her collection were bequeathed to the National Museum of Wales. Amongst the works most proudly displayed were many by JMW Turner, perhaps the nation's best loved artist. These paintings were the pinnacle of the sisters' collection, carefully selected and greatly valued. Yet within months of this extraordinary act of generosity, the authenticity of the paintings was thrown into doubt by art world experts who branded them fakes. These prized exhibits were deemed 'unfit to hang on the gallery's walls'. For more than half a century a cloud has hung over three of the landscapes, said by experts to be a hand other than Turner's. But Philip believes this may be a miscarriage of justice. As Philip and Fiona investigate, they enter a murky world as they discover the paintings are connected to Turner's secret lover. In the end it will be down to the latest forensic testing in order to prove if the paintings were by Joseph Mallord William Turner. But will the process restore the Davies sisters' reputations as art connoisseurs and allow the pictures to see the light of day once again?

  • Fake or Fortune -Seires 2 - Episode 3
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  • Fake or Fortune - series two - Episode 1
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    Inheriting a work of art by one of the great Impressionist masters should be a joy, but for Patrick Rice it was a mixed blessing. His small oil painting depicting a ballet dancer on stage has always been thought to be a work by Edgar Hilaire Degas. Unfortunately, since the 1970s, experts have not agreed. The painting, which could be worth around half a million pounds if it is a Degas, is currently worth £200. In a last ditch attempt to discover the truth, Patrick and his son Jonathan ask Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould to handle the case. Although bought as a Degas from a reputable London dealer in 1945 by Patrick's father, the painting, titled Danseuse Bleue et Contrebasses, failed to make the official record of Degas, the catalogue raisonne. As far as auction houses and experts are concerned, if it's not in the catalogue then it's not by Degas, and cannot be sold as such. Fiona and Philip follow the painting back through time to try to prove that it was created by one of France's greatest painters. It is a journey that takes them to Paris, Hamburg and Berlin. Could the picture be a fake created, like many others, amidst the chaos of World War Two? Or will the scholars responsible for authentification bring Patrick and his family life-changing news?

  • Fake or Fortune - Series 3 - Episode 1
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    Internationally renowned art dealer turns sleuth for a third series of Fake or Fortune, exploring the darker side of the arts. Pushing more deeply than ever before with surprising twists and turns, this series offers an unparalleled run of international rollercoaster stories. From art history to some of the latest forensic testing, this is the only series where artistic and detective skills go hand in hand. The Fake or Fortune team delve into the work of some of the best-loved artists - from John Constable, whose popularity has made him a prime target of the forgers, to the catalogue of Vuillard. Great storytelling, exhaustive research, state-of-the-art forensics, real-human drama and jaw-dropping revelations presented by Philip Mould also known in the art world as 'The Master Sleuth' and eminent journalist Fiona Bruce.