National Gallery Probes Suspected Art Forgeries Skip to content
Art Museum
Photo: Golli.

National Gallery Probes Suspected Art Forgeries

About a dozen works of art by famous artists are being examined by the National Gallery of Iceland due to suspicion of forgery, RÚV reports. The museum’s director says the case is devastating and plans to put on an exhibition with fake works.

Similarities to the Big Forgery Case

Approximately a dozen artworks, attributed to eminent Icelandic artists like Kjarval and Ásgrímur Jónsson, are currently under scrutiny at the National Gallery of Iceland due to concerns of potential forgery. The issue was recently highlighted on the Þetta helst podcast on Rás 1, Iceland’s National Broadcaster.

Ólafur Ingi Jónsson, the Conservator of the National Gallery, expressed scepticism about the authenticity of these works, citing similarities to forgeries from the notorious Big Forgery Case (Stóra Málverkafölsunarmálið) that gripped the nation’s attention two decades ago.

Ólafur claimed familiarity with the techniques of the individuals responsible for those forgeries, stating he has regularly encountered similar fakes in recent years. Notably, the works in question have never been the subject of police investigation.

Last year, the gallery received a donation from Þorvaldur Guðmundsson’s private collection, which is often linked to his company, Síld og fiskur. The donation is considered a significant cultural asset, comprising 1,400 works by some of Iceland’s most notable artists. Within this collection, about a dozen works specifically attracted the attention of Conservator Ólafur Ingi, some of which were already flagged as forgeries, with others now under suspicion.

Ingibjörg Jóhannsdóttir, Curator of the National Gallery, described the situation as unfortunate and acknowledged possible links to the Big Forgery Case of years past. She suggested the establishment of a special exhibition focusing on forged artworks to educate the public on recognizing different types of art.

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