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London Gallery Reveals Counterfeit in "Spot the Fake Painting" Competition

Did you know? You didn't know. Did you?

by Emerson Rosenthal
Apr 28 2015, 4:00pm

Both the original painting (L) and replica (R) hanging in the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Photos from the Dulwich Picture Gallery, via.

You've been playing "art detective" for a few months now. Finally, it pays off:

Back in January, we reported that, as part of conceptual artist Doug Fishbone's Made in China project, one of London's Dulwich Picture Gallery's 270 masterpieces had been replaced with a counterfeit from a Chinese artist workshop. Today, the gallery reveals that the forgery hanging on their walls is none other than Jean-Honoré Fragonard's 1769 oil on canvas painting, Young Woman

So, how good was the fake? Good enough that only 10% of the museum's 3,000 participants between February 10 and now were able to correctly spot the $120 replica. "Never before have I seen so many people actively looking at each painting," said Dulwich’s chief curator, Dr. Xavier Bray, according to the BBC. 

 (L) 
Fragonard's original Young Woman (R)

The $120 counterfeit replica

Back in January, Fishbone told Artnews, “This is a quiet project, but it raises all sorts of broader questions: how do we interact with culture in our institutions; what does the exhibition context bestow on an object?” If the uptick in attendance at Dulwich Picture Gallery—which Bray says quadrupled over the past few months—is any indication, there's nothing quite like an art caper. 

Watch Dulwich Picture Gallery's trailer for Made in China below, and click here to learn more about the project.

Composite thumbnail by Beckett Mufson, via

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