Moscow, 14 November 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA).
A debate about the authenticity of a Modigliani painting has risen within the Russian world of culture. The painting, Portrait of Marevna, is currently being displayed at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, in the exhibition “Paris School: 1905-1932”. The portrait, created by Modigliani in 1919, is believed to be a portrait of the cubist painter, Marie Vorobieff-Stebelska, otherwise known as Marevna. The president of the Modigliani Institute in Rome, Christian Parisot, who is legally authorised to authenticate the Italian artist’s works, has refuted the doubts publicised by the international press.
A Russian collector stated in The Art Newspaper, that he had considered buying the painting in 2006, for $3 million, however after the painting underwent scientific testing at the Swiss Institute for Art Research, he withdrew from the purchase. According to the research, the pigments used in the painting were synthetic and produced after 1940, twenty years after the artist’s death. Natalia Kounikova, gallery owner and who organised a major exhibition of Marevna’s work at Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery in 2003, is also doubtful about the painting. Kounikova told the newspaper that the portrait doesn’t resemble Marevna: “you could always find traits of a resemblance in a portrait. Here they are entirely absent”.
The Portrait of Marevna will be exhibited until 20 November at Pushkin Museum and is estimated at $9 million, if it is the original. It has often been presented in exhibitions all over the world, despite the recent doubts. It was previously displayed at the retrospective “Amedeo Modigliani”, held until last February at the Municipal House of Prague.