7.9
18 votes
Fake or Fortune?

Fake or Fortune?

BBC One 2011

Journalist Fiona Bruce teams up with art expert Philip Mould to investigate mysteries behind paintings. It's a world of subterfuge and intrigue as they grapple with complex battles often unseen beneath the apparently genteel art establishment.

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The 10 Best Episodes of Fake or Fortune?

Fake or Fortune? - S2E1

#1 - Degas and the Little Dancer

8.36

Season 2 - Episode 1

The “sleeper” picture this week is — or purports to be — a Degas. It’s a tiny, charming oil painting of a ballet dancer, but it is not included in the relevant bible of Degas’ works. A nice old gent whose father bought it in 1945 would love to know if it’s worth a few hundred pounds or, if it’s the real deal, half a million. Rakish art dealer Philip Mould and his gloriously named researcher Dr Bendor Grosvenor assist Bruce in tracing the truth.

The episode was rated #1 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 11 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S1E2

#2 - Homer

8.20

Season 1 - Episode 2

In this episode, the focus falls on a painting found dumped by a rubbish tip which turns out to be a lost work by one of America's most important 19th century artists, Winslow Homer. In a shock for all concerned, it is valued at 250,000 dollars. But who legally owns the picture, and why was it found in such an unlikely place? Philip and Fiona investigate.

The episode was rated #2 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 5 votes.

#3 - De Chirico

8.14

Season 8 - Episode 3

Bought for just £1, could a small still life be the work of one of the masters of early 20th-century art, Giorgio de Chirico?

The episode was rated #3 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 7 votes.

#4 - A Double Whodunnit

8.13

Season 7 - Episode 4

Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould investigate the origins of two paintings by unknown artists dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, which unusually for the period, depict black subjects. One is a portrait of Dido Belle, a famous former slave adopted into an aristocratic English family in the 1760s, while the other depicts two children against a tropical landscape, and is believed to have been painted as a protest against the slave trade.

The episode was rated #4 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 8 votes.

#5 - Giacometti

8.13

Season 7 - Episode 5

Fiona Bruce and art expert Philip Mould investigate the first work of sculpture featured on the show, an unusual piece called The Gazing Head, which may have been made by Alberto Giacometti in 1930s Paris. The quest to uncover the truth is complicated by the fact that the sculpture was once broken into several pieces by a cat.

The episode was rated #5 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 8 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S4E2

#6 - Renoir

8.09

Season 4 - Episode 2

Nicky Philipps, a portrait artist renowned for her pictures of the royal family, has asked the Fake or Fortune team to investigate a painting which hangs on the walls of Picton Castle, once the Philipps family seat. The work was bought in the 1930s by Nicky's great-grandfather, Sir Laurence Philipps, who believed it to be by celebrated Impressionist Pierre Auguste Renoir. But the painting has been dogged by doubt for half a century, and two art world authorities can't agree whether it's genuine or fake. Nicky's late Aunt Gwen used to tell a tantalising story that the painting came from Claude Monet's house in Giverny and was a gift to the artist from Renoir at a time when they painted together. But a family anecdote isnt enough to convince the art world's toughest judges - the team must find hard evidence. The trail takes Philip to Argenteuil, a suburb of Paris which was once an Impressionist playground. During the 1870s, Renoir and Monet worked here together, often painting the same views side-by-side. But can Philip find any evidence that Nicky's picture was painted here? Fiona picks up the provenance trail at Monet's house in Giverny, where she tries to find proof that the painting once hung in his personal art collection. To find out, she must access some closely guarded archives in Paris. Philip travels to Berlin to see if cutting-edge technology can determine whether the pigments in Nicky's painting match up to those listed by Renoir himself. Can a special camera see through the canvas to reveal clues hidden from view? Along the way, Fiona discovers that the picture is caught between two rival art world authorities - the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery and the Wildenstein Institute, who both believe their word is the last word when it comes to Renoir.

The episode was rated #6 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 11 votes.

#7 - Henry Moore

8.09

Season 7 - Episode 3

Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould investigate a small watercolour sketch that could be the work of sculptor Henry Moore. The piece was found in 2012 in a hoard of artwork stolen by the Nazis. While the unidentified piece has many characteristics of Moore's work, none of the other artworks recovered were by British artists, so it remains a mystery how it came to be there. The team must not only find out who created it, but also who it belonged to, since it may have been looted from Jewish owners during the Holocaust and will need to be returned to surviving descendants.

The episode was rated #7 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 11 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S4E3

#8 - A Mystery Old Master

8.00

Season 4 - Episode 3

A beautiful church in the heart of the Lancastrian countryside has for over 200 years been home to a possible 16th-century Italian Old Master. But it is also at the centre of an unusual mystery. The congregation have contacted Fake or Fortune? to help solve a riddle which has been puzzling everyone. Who painted this huge picture, and just how did it find its way into a church once patronised by the famous Bronte sisters? Philip is immediately struck by the imposing painting, which depicts one of the most dramatic scenes from the New Testament, the aftermath of the crucifixion of Christ. He has a hunch it might date from the Italian Renaissance, which would make it the oldest picture ever investigated on Fake or Fortune? But to prove his theory will require a series of scientific tests to look beneath the layers of dirt and grime to see if any clues to the artist's identity can be revealed. The trail leads Fiona and Philip on a surprising and colourful journey to Italy, where Philip wants to inspect pictures by the great Old Masters Titian and Tintoretto. Fiona uncovers a secret history of stolen paintings and meets an Italian scholar who may have a significant lead in the case. Back in the UK, Bendor is looking into a local aristocrat who the congregation believe donated the painting and discovers some family secrets which may shed new light on how the painting arrived in the church over two centuries ago. But the British art market will take some convincing that an artist can be officially attributed to the picture, and this will require a hugely ambitious restoration project. By fully cleaning the picture, can Fake or Fortune? prove beyond doubt the identity of the painter?

The episode was rated #8 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 14 votes.

#9 - Cosway or Lawrence?

8.00

Season 8 - Episode 2

Can the team prove that a portrait attributed to pioneering female artist Maria Cosway is actually an undiscovered work of the great Regency artist Sir Thomas Lawrence?

The episode was rated #9 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 8 votes.

#10 - Toulouse-Lautrec

7.93

Season 7 - Episode 2

Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould must prove that a sketchbook is the work of a young Toulouse-Lautrec, overturning a decision made by a committee of experts on the artist. The drawings in the book are of a very different subject matter to Lautrec&#39;s famous works, and are dated to when he was a teenager - a period of his life that is largely a mystery. To get to the truth, Fiona and Philip travel to the town in the south of France where Lautrec grew up and visit the grand family home where he spent much of his youth.

The episode was rated #10 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 14 votes.

#11 - Edouard Vuillard
7.92
Season 3 - Episode 1

Scriptwriter Keith Tutt fell in love with the work of French post-Impressionist painter Edouard Vuillard in his school art class. When a large oval picture of a Parisian café scene said to be by the artist appeared in a provincial auction house, he gambled his savings on it - even though it doesn't appear in the official record of Vuillard's works. To prove it, the team will need to convince some of the most demanding art experts in France... and they've got a tricky history with Fake or Fortune. The quest for evidence starts in Geneva, where Philip and conservationist Aviva Burnstock compare Keith's picture with a huge Vuillard work called Le Grand Teddy, painted for a French café in 1919. Can science prove that the two pictures were painted using identical materials? Fiona picks up the provenance trail in France and Holland, unearthing tantalising clues about the picture's past, while a meeting with a pair of British antiques hunters dramatically expands the scope of the investigation. Could there really be another missing oval? Once the team has marshalled all their evidence, it's time to seek the approval of the Wildenstein Institute in Paris, the body who notoriously rejected a highly credible Monet in the first-ever episode of Fake or Fortune. Have the team done enough to convince them that Keith's picture is genuine?

The episode was rated #1 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 12 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S4E1
#12 - Lowry
7.85
Season 4 - Episode 1

Art detectives Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould return for a brand new series, starting with an investigation into three small pictures by one of Britain's best-loved modern artists - LS Lowry. Stephen Ames, a Cheshire property developer, has a problem - he's inherited three small oil paintings believed to be by Laurence Stephen Lowry, an artist renowned for his scenes of northern life, but he doesn't have any proof. All he knows is that they were bought by his father Gerald, a self-made businessman with a passion for art, in the early 70s. The trouble for Stephen is that LS Lowry is probably the most faked British artist, his deceptively simple style of painting making him a soft target for forgers. As a result, the art market has become very wary of newly discovered Lowry works. If he can't find evidence in favour of the pictures, they are worthless. As they hunt for proof with the assistance of specialist art researcher Dr Bendor Grosvenor, the team encounter unexpected obstacles and extraordinary coincidences, culminating in a groundbreaking scientific discovery that challenges everything we thought we knew about Lowry the artist. But is it enough to prove that the pictures are genuine?

The episode was rated #2 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 13 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S1E3
#13 - Van Meegeren
7.82
Season 1 - Episode 3

The art world can prove a bear pit, with a myriad of tricksters at work. Experts estimate that anything between 20%-40% of works of art on the market are faked. And they can turn up in the most unexpected places. Hanging in one of the most prestigious and respected art institutes in London is a picture Philip has heard of, which may hold the key to unlocking the story of the most audacious forger of all time. A man who dared to fake the work of Old Masters and made millions from his deception, until he was caught in 1945: Han Van Meegeren. But a mystery remains to this day, as Van Meegeren died before a complete record of his fakes was made. How did he pull off faking Old Master paintings, duping important art galleries in to making purchases of works apparently by Vermeer, even foxing Goering in to buying one of his works during the war? Philip and Fiona get to work on the London picture which, legend has it, hung in Van Meegeren's studio on the day he was arrested. Was it his last work? And by testing it, can we prove how he out-foxed some of the most eminent minds in the art world?

The episode was rated #3 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 11 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S3E4
#14 - Gainsborough
7.80
Season 3 - Episode 4

The team find what could be several important lost works by Thomas Gainsborough in Britain's public art collections.

The episode was rated #4 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 5 votes.

#15 - A Venetian View
7.78
Season 8 - Episode 4

The team investigates a beautiful 18th-century Venetian view. Could this be a work by one of the Italian masters - either Francesco Guardi or Michele Marieschi?

The episode was rated #5 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 9 votes.

#16 - Nicholson
7.71
Season 7 - Episode 1

Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould examine a still life that may have been painted by prolific artist William Nicholson, but which has been rejected by leading experts on his work. They discover a useful source of evidence in Nicholson's own paint box, but as they delve into the painting's history, they discover it may have been connected to one of the 20th century's greatest art crimes. Fiona meets a reformed forger to discover if he ever faked a Nicholson while Philip takes the painting to Canada to compare it to another of the artist's works.

The episode was rated #6 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 14 votes.

#17 - The Lost Gainsborough
7.71
Season 8 - Episode 1

The team investigate an 18th-century landscape that could be a lost work by of one of the biggest names in British art, Thomas Gainsborough.

The episode was rated #7 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 7 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S2E2
#18 - Turner: A Miscarriage of Justice?
7.67
Season 2 - Episode 2

The Hosts of the show take a llok at the history of three paintings bequeathed to the National Museum of Wales after their owner died in 1951. It was always thought that the paintings were by landscape artist JMW Turner, but only months after the museum took ownership, experts said that they were fakes.

The episode was rated #8 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 15 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S1E4
#19 - Rembrandt
7.57
Season 1 - Episode 4

In this closing episode, suspicions are aroused when Philip and his researcher Bendor spot a rogue picture for sale in a South African auction house. It exudes all the classic scent of being a 'sleeper', an important picture that has been miscataloged and offered for a very low price. But there is a darker side revealed when investigations uncover that this is a wanted painting, having been stolen by the Nazis in World War II. Records show it was once recorded as being a German national treasure, once thought to have been painted by Rembrandt. A Jewish family have been trying to track it and other works stolen from their gallery ever since. With minutes to go Philip and Fiona manage to stop the sale and release the picture for investigation. Having picked it up from Cape Town, Fiona delivers it to Philip and an in-depth examination utilising the latest infra-red and forensic testing begins. Can it really be by Rembrandt and will it be possible to see it returned to its rightful owners? In an effort to solve who painted it Philip travels to Amsterdam to meet a man with the power of a demi-god; the chair of the Rembrandt Research Project on whose word hangs the verdict that can make the value differ by many millions of pounds. Fiona meanwhile tries to unpick the thorny question of ownership before finally returning the picture to South Africa when the owner of the disputed painting finally emerges from the shadows to tell his story.

The episode was rated #9 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 7 votes.

#20 - Delaroche
7.55
Season 5 - Episode 2

The Fake or Fortune team have been called in to investigate a mysterious painting in Castle of Park, a grand house in Aberdeenshire now run as a bed and breakfast by Becky Wilson. The painting once belonged to Becky's late husband Neil, an art dealer, and although it was unsigned he always believed it was something special - a lost masterpiece by celebrated 19th-century French artist Paul Delaroche, whose work graces some of Britain's finest collections.

The episode was rated #10 Best episode of Fake or Fortune? from 20 votes.

Last updated: oct 09, 2020

Comments

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how do I start watching this episolde of Fake or Fortune, about Giacometti? I don't see a start to play button.

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