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Fingerprint unmasks original da Vinci painting
Posted: 13 October 2009 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]
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A smudged fingerprint has convinced art experts that a painting thought to have dated back to the early 19th century is the work of revered Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci.

Little is known of the painting before it appeared in an illustrated Christie’s catalogue in the late 1990s labeled as “German, 19th Century” under the name of “Young Girl in Profile in Renaissance Dress.”

It sold for $19,000 at the auction to respected New York art dealer Kate Ganz who kept it for 12 years before selling it on for a similar price in 2007. The work is now locked in a Swiss bank vault with an estimated value of more than $160 million.

Peter Silverman had seen the work during the original auction back in the 1990s. “I was actually an under-bidder because I thought it was a wonderful thing but I didn’t have the knowledge at that time to go all the way,” he told CNN.

More than 10 years later, he was walking in New York with a Swiss friend whom he describes as a “major collector of contemporary art.”

“He popped into the Ganz gallery and saw this thing on her desk which was for sale. And he came out and said, ‘Peter I don’t know what I’m looking at here; I’m a contemporary collector. But I certainly would like you to have a look at it because it doesn’t look 19th Century to me.’ So I went and looked at it and I bought it right way for him.”

Silverman then began the long process of proving that every expert and art lover who had seen the painting over the past decade—and earlier—had been wrong to assume that it was the work of anyone other than one of the world’s greatest artists.

“I kept saying to myself, this is absurd, it can’t be,” Silverman told CNN. “A da Vinci coming out of the woodwork, just like that, nobody recognized it, fully illustrated, seen by the whole world at Christies, in the hands of one of the top dealers in the world. I was puzzled, sort of stymied.”

He started researching followers of da Vinci who may have produced the work in their mentor’s style, but kept coming back to the same conclusion: That it was a da Vinci.

“My one claim to fame in this whole thing is that I saved it from obscurity,” Silverman told CNN.

In January 2008, Silverman bumped into Nicholas Turner, former Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, at an exhibition at the Louvre in Paris.

He showed Turner an image of the print on a digital camera who agreed it looked like a da Vinci.

Other experts agreed but it was evidence from the Paris-based firm Lumi

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Posted: 13 October 2009 05:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The work is now locked in a Swiss bank vault. . .

See, that’s why I’d probably horrify the art world.  If I had a painting like that, I’d just have it hanging up in my hallway somewhere.

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Posted: 13 October 2009 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Accipiter - 13 October 2009 09:24 PM

See, that’s why I’d probably horrify the art world.  If I had a painting like that, I’d just have it hanging up in my hallway somewhere.

That rather horrifies me and I have nothing to do with the art world.

What kind of security would you have around a $160 million painting hanging in your hallway?

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Posted: 13 October 2009 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I just wouldn’t advertise that it was there.

But I tend to make use of antiques and things like that.  I have a blanket from the 1840’s that I’ve used on my bed often.  One of my candy bowls is about 600 years old, and one of my oil lamps that I’ve used often is about 2,000 years old.  I figure that they were made to be used and displayed, so I use and display them.  I wouldn’t feel right having a nice painting locked away in some dark vault.

I would hang it up where it wasn’t in direct sunlight, at least.  wink

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Posted: 13 October 2009 05:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Accipiter - 13 October 2009 09:57 PM

I just wouldn’t advertise that it was there.

But I tend to make use of antiques and things like that.  I have a blanket from the 1840’s that I’ve used on my bed often.  One of my candy bowls is about 600 years old, and one of my oil lamps that I’ve used often is about 2,000 years old.  I figure that they were made to be used and displayed, so I use and display them.  I wouldn’t feel right having a nice painting locked away in some dark vault.

I would hang it up where it wasn’t in direct sunlight, at least.  wink

Like the bathroom??

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Posted: 13 October 2009 06:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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gray - 13 October 2009 09:59 PM

Like the bathroom??

Hmmm. . .right beside the shower, where it can be kept well humidified.

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