Sketch 'by Auguste Rodin' revealed as bogus by BBC's Fake Or Fortune show


A sketch that was believed to have been the work of French artist Auguste Rodin has been revealed as a fake.

The drawing of a dancer was shown to have been produced by a forger who had claimed he was Rodin's last pupil.

The piece was investigated by BBC One's Fake Or Fortune show after the programme was approached by owner Alice Thoday, from Lincolnshire.

The fake Rodin sketch

Ms Thoday inherited the watercolour from her mother and the family had always believed it was one of a series of works Rodin drew of a Cambodian dance troupe who visited France in 1906.

If genuine, the work would have been worth more than £100,000.

Analysis of the sketch by a French conservator with expertise in Rodin's Cambodian dancers could not determine the authenticity of the work.

A handwriting analyst who compared the signature on Ms Thoday's work with examples of Rodin's signature raised doubts they were by the same hand.

Christina Buley, who uncovered several fake Rodin works in a collection at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris in 2014, said she did not believe the long-treasured artwork was created by Rodin.

She felt it had more of the distinctive stylistic hallmarks of forger Ernst Durig.

Fake or Fortune

After the verdict, Ms Thoday said she had wanted to know the truth - and that despite the team being unable to prove the family's belief that the work was by Rodin, it will remain hanging on her wall.

Expert Philip Mould said: "Making this programme showed me just how great a draughtsman Rodin was - he is so well-known for his work as a sculptor but this dimension of his work is just as compelling.

Philip Mould

"We're dealing with an artist who has been faked with competence by those close to him. It's understandable in the high-stakes art world that this leads to extreme caution and scepticism."

Host Fiona Bruce said: "Never before have we investigated an artist whose work has been so comprehensively faked - and whose fakes have been displayed at the most renowned art institutions in the world.

Fiona Bruce

"Rodin is known primarily for his sculpture but he produced thousands of drawings and the fact he was so prolific is a big part of why he was so hugely faked."