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Fakes Bared at Barnes

According to a column by Edward J. Sozanski in the Philadelphia Inquirer, an in– depth study of the Barnes Foundation collection in Merion, Pa., revealed that a number of Old Master paintings were wrongly attributed. The study revealed that perhaps as many as two dozen of the Old Master paintings required reattribution, the art critic

NEW YORK—According to a column by Edward J. Sozanski in the Philadelphia Inquirer, an in–depth study of the Barnes Foundation collection in Merion, Pa., revealed that a number of Old Master paintings were wrongly attributed. The study revealed that perhaps as many as two dozen of the Old Master paintings required reattribution, the art critic reports.

Among them: Giorgione’s Two Prophets, now believed to have been painted by a contemporary, the Venetian Bonifazio de’ Pitati; the Temptation of St. Anthony, formerly believed to be by Hieronymus Bosch but now thought to be a copy by an unidentified 16th-century artist; Titian’s Portrait of a Gentleman and Son, which has been reassigned to an unidentified Italian artist of the mid-16th century; and El Greco’s Disrobing of Christ, now said to be of the “school of” the Greek-Spanish master.

Normally such radical reattribution within a major collection would be cause for alarm or severe disappointment, but as Sozanski points out, because the “foundation’s indenture of trust forbids selling anything from the collection without court approval, monetary value is practically irrelevant.”

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