An exhibition in Slovenia claiming to feature works by Picasso, Van Gogh and Matisse was abruptly cancelled this week over fears some works were forged, prompting a police probe on Friday.
The National Museum in Slovenia planned to officially open the show on Wednesday this week, entitled “Travels” and featuring 160 paintings owned by the little-known Boljkovac family.
But hours before planned opening, museum director Pavel Car said the show was cancelled after several art experts warned that, having seen the exhibition catalogue, they believed the works were most likely fakes.
“These are clear forgeries... you don’t need to be an art history expert to notice it,” Slovenian art expert Brane Kovic told news website N1.
The show promised works by Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall, apparently owned by the Boljkovac family.
But Kovic said it was highly unlikely that so many masterpieces were among a private collection in Slovenia.
The Boljkovac family has so far not commented.
Ljubljana police said Friday they had launched an investigation into the incident, “with the collaboration of pertinent institutions”.
Car insisted he personally had seen the paintings’ authenticity certificates, but nonetheless resigned Thursday, admitting he had been “naive” about the works.
The museum’s website removed all references to the cancelled exhibition on Friday.
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