'Fake' Israeli Painting Fetches Twice the Original's Value

Artist Amos Yaskil realized auctioned painting was fake, but decided to go ahead with bidding.

Painter Amos Yaskil said on Wednesday he was "amused" that a fake bearing his name was sold this week for twice its estimated value as an original.

The painting, closely resembling the artist's "Galilee Landscape," was valued by an auction house at $1,200. It was put on sale by the Tirosh gallery, but Yaskil's children pointed out to him that some details and technique, especially the sloppy preparation of the canvas, were not at all typical of his other works. He said that on close examination the painting turned out to be a fake.

Yaskil, 74, said Tirosh gallery had asked him if he wanted the picture to be removed from sale, and even went as far as to read out his letter declaring the painting fake at the auction itself. However, the painting sold nonetheless, at $2,990.

"I think it's rather nice; a man knowingly buys a picture with a fake signature by an artist who publicly states the picture wasn't his," Yaskil said. "I think the buyer was also probably amused."

Tirosh gallery director Dov Hazan said artists who are disappointed with price estimates often declare that a painting is a fake. He said that while he did read out Yaskil's letter at the auction, experts in the audience remained convinced that the painting and signature were authentic. "No one would bother faking a painting estimated to be worth $800," Hazan said.