Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Lowry Art Trickery?

Wigan Today reports that an art lover from Cheshire accused of tricking a dealer into buying a fake LS Lowry has told a court he thought the painting was genuine. Maurice Taylor - who calls himself Lord Taylor Windsor after buying the title on the internet for £1,000 - sold the Mill Street scene to businessman David Smith during a meeting in a Ritz hotel room in 2007. Mr Smith, managing director of Neptune Fine Arts, paid over £230,000 before discovering the work was bogus. Taylor, 60, who lives in a mansion near Congleton, had bought the snowy scene featuring matchstick-style figures three years earlier through friend and Lowry expert Ivan Aird. Mr Aird acted as an agent for the previous owner Martin Heaps who, the crown say, sold the picture for £7,500 with an invoice describing it as "After Lowry" because it was created by artist Arthur Delaney. Prosecuting at Chester Crown Court, Sion Ap Mihangel, said Taylor knew the picture was fake, invented history to boost its provenance, and doctored the invoice so it appeared he was sold a genuine work. Taylor admitted telling his buyer and auctioneers Bonhams he bought the painting several decades earlier from industrialist Eddie Rosenfeld. He said he did not know why he lied but claimed Mr Aird asked him not to say he bought the painting through him. He said Mr Aird told him the painting was genuine and said: "When he sold me that picture there was never a question in his mind. I didn't question him, he told me it was original." A team of experts from Bonhams later assessed the work and were taken in by it. They provided a £600,000 insurance valuation and laid on the red carpet treatment, hoping Taylor would sell it through them. Mr Mihangel said Taylor acquired the Bonhams valuation to strengthen his selling position and to ensure a private sale. Taylor denies denies six counts of fraud and one of forging an invoice. The trial continues. (For full source and full article click the Headline). Irish Art