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Journalist Fiona Bruce teams up with art expert Philip Mould to investigate mysteries behind paintings.

Genres: Arts & Crafts
Station: BBC One (UK)
Rating: 9/10 from 1 users
Status: Running
Start: 2011-06-19

Fake or Fortune? Air Dates

S11E01 - Elisabeth Frink Air Date: 26 September 2023 19:00 -

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In episode one, Fiona and Philip head to the Essex countryside on the trail of one of the 20th century's greatest artists, Dame Elisabeth Frink.

Owner Amanda Kirke discovered an intriguing sculpture at her local car-boot sale and her initial search on the internet, brought up a similar looking figure produced by Elisabeth Frink in an edition of 10 in 1956.

Using scientific analysis and the latest laser scanning technology, together with the expert opinion of a friend and fellow sculptor of Frink's, will Philip and Fiona's evidence be enough to convince the authentication committee that Amanda's figure is genuine? There is a lot at stake; if this is a genuine Frink it could be worth up to £60,000. But if it's not, then it's scrap metal value is a mere £10! The stakes have never been so high for the team.

S11E02 - Joshua Reynolds Air Date: 03 October 2023 19:00 -

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In the second episode, Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould head to north London to meet Glyn Hopkin, a car dealer with a soft spot for art.

He's taken a gamble on a painting he hopes is by a towering figure of 18th century art, Sir Joshua Reynolds. Glyn took a punt on this beguiling picture of a boy in a jacket at an online auction in Monaco, for £2,700. If it turns out to be genuine it could be worth £100,000.

The team arrange for Glyn's work to be examined by Dr Alexandra Gent, a Reynolds specialist and conservator at the National Portrait Gallery. Will Glyn's picture show similarities with authentic paintings?

The man making a decision on this complex work is the author of the most recent Catalogue Raisonné of Reynolds' work, Dr Martin Postle. Will Glyn's gamble pay off?

S11E03 - Cezanne and Pissarro Air Date: 10 October 2023 19:00 -

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In episode three, Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould head to France on the trail of two of the greatest Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists, Camille Pissarro, and his friend and protégé, Paul Cézanne.

Fiona travels to the stunning Provençal landscape on the trail of a simple watercolour, owned by Dominique Rogers. Dominique is the great- great niece of Anthony Valabrègue, a poet, art critic and friend of Cézanne who painted him several times. Dominique believes the painting was a direct gift from Cézanne, passed on by Valabrègue's widow to her father in the 1920s.

Meanwhile Philip travels to Pontoise in northern France, where Pissarro set up home, to meet Zana Glaser, who inherited a drawing depicting a group of cabbage sellers from her father, Tom. It was accepted that the outline of the drawing and signature were by Pissarro, but when Tom tried to sell the drawing at auction in 2012 it was rejected by the Pissarro committee who felt it had been coloured by another hand. Zana turns to the Fake or Fortune team for help. Can science prove that the outline and colouring were done at the same time?

If the Pissarro is genuine, it may be worth as much as £50,000. If not, its value is probably no more than £1,000. And if the Cézanne is authenticated, it could be worth a massive £100,000 as the artist's work has never been more popular. If not, it's worth virtually nothing. Can the team gather enough evidence to persuade the relevant authorities?

S11E04 - Arshile Gorky Air Date: 17 October 2023 19:00 -

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Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould investigate a mysterious canvas which could be by a pioneer of Abstract Expressionism, Arshile Gorky. Works by this Armenian-American artist fetch millions at auction, but there is one major hurdle in the way of owner Liza Dunluce realising its fortune - the canvas is covered in white paint.

Dates on the back of the canvas suggest it was painted between 1928 and 1931, but the composition visible through gaps in the white paint looks nothing like Gorky's work from this early period of his career. Philip hopes an X-Ray will explain why the dates on the back of the canvas don't match the style of the painting. Could there be another, earlier work buried deep beneath the layers of paint?

Tantalisingly, Fiona's research reveals a lost Gorky from the 1930s, known only by a photograph. Could this picture lie hidden beneath a 1940s composition?

Events take a turn after the Gorky family go to see the picture and raise a startling question: should the white paint layer actually be removed at all? The artist's granddaughter, Saskia Spender, tells Fiona that Gorky sometimes used white paint to partially cover up his pictures as part of the creative process. Could Liza's canvas may be made up of not one, not two, but three pictures - the white layer on top being a further composition?

This proves to be one of the most challenging investigations on the series yet. With millions at stake, will Liza's picture turn out to be neither fake nor fortune?

Next Episode of Fake or Fortune? is


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