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Paris Art Expert Sentenced In Drawing Forgery Case

Christian Parisot, an art historian and specialist on Amedeo Modigliani who had been convicted on fraud charges in Paris, was sentenced in mid-January to a two-year suspended sentence and a E50,000 ($70,000) fine by a French court of appeals.

PARIS—Christian Parisot, an art historian and specialist on Amedeo Modigliani who had been convicted on fraud charges in Paris, was sentenced in mid-January to a two-year suspended sentence and a E50,000 ($70,000) fine by a French court of appeals.

Parisot had been accused of faking 77 drawings by Jeanne Hébuterne, the artist’s mistress and the mother of his daughter; she committed suicide, pregnant and at the age of 21, two days after Modigliani died, in 1920. In addition to the fine, he is required to pay E50,000 in damages to Luc Prunet, Hébuterne’s grandnephew.

Parisot had appealed his original sentence of two years in prison, of which eight months was mandatory and one year was suspended, along with an E8,000 ($11,200) fine and a symbolic E1 in damages to Prunet.

The accusations date back to 2000, when Parisot contacted Prunet, who had 60 drawings by Hébuterne, and offered to organize an exhibition of the works in Venice. According to the charges, Prunet agreed to loan Parisot the drawings and authorized him to photograph them in order to prepare a catalogue. But Prunet later severed ties with Parisot, and the latter organized his own exhibition of other drawings by Hébuterne that he said were from his own collection, which was put on display in Spain.

Prunet pressed charges against Parisot for forgery after that show of 77 other drawings, which he claimed were forgeries. At that time, two other experts deemed the drawings fakes, and at trial, the sellers he claimed had sold him the works at a flea market also proved dubious; one did not exist, and the other denied selling them.

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