Art adviser rubbishes fake painting claims

CHRIS GARDNER
Last updated 05:00 22/01/2013
NO PROOF: Stuart Stubbs, the art advisor who had Trust Waikato spend $121,000 on a painting a lecturer says is a forgery, maintains it is genuine.
NO PROOF: Stuart Stubbs, the art advisor who had Trust Waikato spend $121,000 on a painting a lecturer says is a forgery, maintains it is genuine.

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The man who advised Trust Waikato that a painting of Tainui chief Kewene Te Haho was a genuine Gottfried Lindauer work says forgery claims have little substance.

Stuart Stubbs said protocols had not been followed after Roger Blakeley, a Victoria University School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies lecturer, concluded the painting was "a calculated forgery of a highly sophisticated nature, which for over a decade has successfully duped a range of experts".

Mr Stubbs was the art adviser for Trust Waikato when it bought the painting at auction in 2001 for $121,000.

Trust chief executive Dr Bev Gatenby said both the seller, Auckland Art Centre, and another Auckland auction house which had sold it were unable to offer any information about its origins.

But Mr Stubbs said neither he nor the International Art Centre had any doubts it was by Gottfried Lindauer - but they were not able to provide any evidence of its authenticity.

"The auctioneer does have provenance . . . Of course although major art houses go to great lengths to authenticate major works offered, they can only go so far. To them [there were] no problems with the look of the work, nor with the structure of the frame, stretcher or labelling.

"No doubts about the work were raised by any director, collection manager or exhibition curator during the the time the work has lain in the Waikato Museum. Despite many knowledgeable art lovers viewing the work, nobody questioned the authenticity of the painting."

Mr Stubbs said he was waiting for more information on the painting before writing to the trust.

The trust complained to police in October, but were told a police investigation was unlikely as there was no additional avenue to explore.

The painting remains at Waikato Museum.

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- Waikato Times

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