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


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 from 11 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S1E2

#2 - Homer


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 from 5 votes.

#3 - De Chirico


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 from 7 votes.

#4 - A Double Whodunnit


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 from 8 votes.

#5 - Giacometti


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 from 8 votes.

Fake or Fortune? - S4E2
#6 - Renoir
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 from 11 votes.
#7 - Henry Moore
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 from 11 votes.
Fake or Fortune? - S4E3
#8 - A Mystery Old Master
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 from 14 votes.
#9 - Cosway or Lawrence?
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 from 8 votes.
#10 - Toulouse-Lautrec
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 from 14 votes.

Last updated: oct 09, 2020



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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