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Modigliani artworks seized on allegations of forgery

"A Michelangelo is a Michelangelo. A Picasso is a Picasso. But when a painting is a fake, it is missing its soul," said Tuscan art collector Carlo Pepi.

By Danielle Haynes
Modigliani artworks seized on allegations of forgery
A picture of the painting 'Ritratto di Testa di ragazza (Louise)'' by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani is seen during the exhibition "Modigliani" at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa, Italy, on March 15. Police on Friday confiscated 21 artworks from the show on allegations they are fake. File Photo by Luca Zennaro/EPA

July 17 (UPI) -- Authorities in Italy said they shut down an exhibit of paintings and sculptures by Amadeo Modigliani after an art collector reported 21 artworks as fake.

Tuscan art collector Carlo Pepi alerted police to the show at Genoa's Palazzo Ducale showcasing the modernist.

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On Friday, police seized 21 works and launched a probe into the show's authenticity, Italy's ANSA news agency reported. The foundation that sponsored the show had shut it down days earlier.

"They did the right thing. This was absolutely shameful,' Pepi told The Telegraph. "A Michelangelo is a Michelangelo. A Picasso is a Picasso. But when a painting is a fake, it is missing its soul, and these were missing that three dimensional elegance of Modigliani -- even a child could see these were crude fakes."

Pepi first raised concerns about the veracity of the paintings in February when he saw a reprint of one of the paintings for an advertisement.

"My goodness, when I saw the poster of [Marie, daughter of the people] and then looked through the catalogue and saw the others, I thought, poor Modigliani, to attribute to him these ugly abominations."

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French art historian and Modigliani expert Marc Restellini also called the exhibition "dubious."

Authorities are investigating three people for the alleged fraud, including the Swiss curator. More than 100,000 people visited the Palazzo Ducale, or Doge's Palace

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