1917 – 1984
‘Ballet Dancer’ after Edgar Degas
Date: 20th century
Pastel on board in the original Keating frame
Frame size: 30½ x 24¼ inches / 77.5 x 62 cm
Signed Tom Keating
Stock Number: SC1911/415
Price: £9500 RESERVED
TOM KEATING was an art restorer and famous art faker who claimed to have faked more than 2,000 paintings over 30 years. To-date some 200 Sexton Blakes (Keating’s Cockney rhyming slang for fakes) have been discovered, leaving some 1800 hidden in private collections around the world.
Keating was a forger with a cause, perceiving the art trade to be rotten, he retaliated by creating forgeries to fool the experts, hoping to destabilize the system. Keating produced watercolours and oils by various European masters including Francois Boucher, Edgar Degas, Fragonard, Thomas Gainsborough, Samual Palmer, Amedeo Modigliani, Rembrandt, and Renoir.
In 1970 auctioneers noticed that thirteen watercolours by Samuel Palmer were for sale, all depicting the same theme, the town of Shoreham. When an article appeared in The Times discussing the auctioneer’s suspicions Keating confessed they were his together with some 2000 other paintings in circulation, but he refused to list the forgeries.
Keating was finally arrested in 1977 and accused of conspiracy to defraud. The case was dropped on account of his bad health. Keating rallied in the last two years before his death presenting television programs on the techniques of old masters for Channel 4.
Many art collectors and celebrities began to collect Keating’s work even when he was alive, and after his death his paintings became increasingly valuable. The grand faker himself is now receiving the highest compliment as fakes bearing his signature and original style are finding their way into the open market. The demand for real Keating’ has increased dramatically over the last couple of decades, realising high records at auction especially for his nearly Turners, Monets, Rembrandts and Degas’s.
PROVENANCE: By descent through the family with covering letter confirming provenance.