Kardashian’s Dreams Dashed by Fake Modigliani
Or, what trash TV can teach you about the tricky business of authenticating art.
We’re not quite sure what happened but we arrived a bit late to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to combine the words “Kardashian” and “Modigliani” in a single story.
A recent episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians centers around the discovery of an old painting thought to be a work by Amedeo Modigliani, and gives a Kardashian’s-eye view of the emotional roller coaster that is art authentication. The ordeal involves what you would expect: hiring art experts and conservators; wild, seemingly unfounded estimates putting the value at as much as $100 million; and, ultimately, broken dreams of acquiring a private jet and becoming “ultra-rich.” (Wait… their reality show has not already spawned an empire that has made them all filthy stinking rich?)
It all starts when eldest Kardashian sibling Kourtney gets wind of a painting found in the house of her boyfriend Scott Disick’s late parents. It has all the hallmarks of a piece by Modigliani, the Italian-born modernist whose signature works are melancholy portraits of women and men with elongated necks and dark, almond-shaped eyes. Kourtney, who believes the work stands a good chance of being authentic, gushes that it could be worth as much as $100 million. (The actual auction record for the artist is $69 million, set at Sotheby’s in 2010.)
Disick, for his part, is more skeptical—that is until one expert shows up at the house and announces: “It’s the real thing.”
Sadly, after a sample from the painting undergoes chemical analysis, Kourtney and Scott learn that the work, while definitely old and created in the 1930s, is not by Modigliani after all since the materials used to create it did not exist during the artist’s lifetime (he died in 1920). America learns an important lesson about chemical analysis, and Kourtney and Scott’s dream of a private, Modigliani-financed jet is officially dead.
E! has put a poll on its website asking viewers to weigh in on whether they believed the painting was real before the results were in. As of publication, only 29.5 percent of E! readers have voted “Yes! It Looked Real!”
Some other exemplary Kardashianisms from this episode:
Kourtney: “Has the ‘original’ painting been delivered yet?”
Scott: “You’re an original psycho.”
Younger sister Khloe: “What is that?”
Scott: “I need to start thinking about what color carpeting I want on my private jet.”
Scott: “I just need money for a helicopter.”
Scott: “I’ve always been into being super-rich”
Scott: “But if it turns out fake, we got nothing!”
Kourtney: “The dream is over. The nightmare begins.”
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