Fake Mona Lisa Sells for $3.4 Million at Auction in Paris
A fake of Da Vinci’s masterpiece known as the Hekking Mona Lisa was sold at Christie’s Auction House in Paris on Friday.
The painting fetched €2.9 million ($3.44 million). Auction organizers had estimated its price at between €200,000-€300,000.
The painting sold about ten times its estimate at an online auction by Christie’s Auction House in Paris, reported NHK World.
The reproduction is believed to have been painted in the early 1600s, about 100 years after the Mona Lisa, which hangs in the Paris Louvre.
Leonardo da Vinci created his work on a wood panel, while the replica is on canvas.
The copy has been dubbed the “Hekking Mona Lisa”, after French art collector Raymond Hekking, who purchased it from an antique shop in 1950s, reported NHK World.
Hekking expended great effort in attempting to prove his acquisition was in fact the real Leonardo work.
Pierre Etienne, international director of Old Master Paintings, has no doubt that “it is not the Mona Lisa, it is the Hekking Mona Lisa.”
Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is one of the most recognisable and famous works of art in the world, and also one of the most replicated and reinterpreted.
The world-famous Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1914, and Hekking was soon convinced the painting returned to the gallery was not really the original at all — the one in his possession was the real Mona Lisa, he claimed.
Improbable as it seemed, the art historical community took the claim seriously.
According to Christie’s, Etienne has uncovered correspondence and articles written in French, English and Russian that were all willing to consider the claim that the painting might be the original.
Upon Hekking’s death in 1977, the replica was passed on to his family who has decided to put it up for sale.
“This work and its history illustrate the fascination that the Mona Lisa and the aura of Leonardo da Vinci have always held,” Christie’s said.
Quoting Etienne, the auction house added that the replica “is not as compelling as the work in the Louvre but it conjures something of that world and, in a world of images, in which only the strongest ones stay in our mind, allows the dream to go on.”