The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
Sober Sue, the woman who never smiled, 1907
BMW's April Fool's Day Hoaxes
The Great Electric Sugar Swindle, 1884
Dog wins art contest, 1974
Jean Gauntt, the Immortal Baby, 1939
Lord Gordon-Gordon, robber of the robber barons, 1871
Van Gogh's ear exhibited, 1935
Eccentric's last prank, 66 years after his death, 1900
Old-Time Photo Fakery, 1900 to 1919
Mule elected G.O.P. committeeman, 1938
Fake Modigliani For Sale
If you've got a spare $285,000, you can buy a piece of a famous art hoax: one of the fake Modigliani sculptures found in the city of Livorno in 1984. It's up for sale on eBay. I've noticed it up there for a couple of weeks, so evidently people aren't rushing to bid on it, even though it comes with free shipping.


The backstory, briefly: There was a legend in the Italian town of Livorno that when Modigliani left there in 1906, at the age of twenty-one, he dumped a bunch of sculptures in a canal in a fit of depression. So in 1984, on the 100th anniversary of his birth, the town decided to dredge the canal to see if any Modigliani sculptures were still down there. To their surprise, they found three sculpted heads, in Modigliani's style. But their excitement was shortlived, because a few weeks later the heads were revealed to be a hoax. Two separate groups were responsible. Three university students had made one of the heads, and a dockworker, Angelo Froglia, had made the other two. Fuller versions of the story here and here.

The head now on sale is one of the two made by Froglia. The eBay seller says it was bought from Froglia's companion after death. The other two Modigliani heads are owned by the City of Livorno.

This auction confirms my long-felt belief that to really have a Museum of Hoaxes, stocked with genuine artifacts from the history of hoaxing, would require a boatload of cash.
Categories: Art, eBay
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 18, 2012
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