An exhibition in Slovenia featuring works by Picasso, Van Gogh and Matisse was abruptly canceled this week over fears that some of the works had been counterfeited, sparking a police investigation on Friday.
The National Museum of Slovenia planned to officially open the exhibition this Wednesday, titled “Travels” and featuring 160 paintings owned by the little-known Boljkovac family.
But hours before its scheduled opening, museum director Pavel Car said the show had been canceled after several art experts warned that, after seeing the exhibition catalog, they believed the works were most likely fake.
“These are obvious fakes… you don’t have to be an art history expert to notice it,” Slovenian art expert Brane Kovič told news website N1.
The show promised works by Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall, apparently owned by the Boljkovac family.
But Kovič said it was highly unlikely that so many masterpieces were in a private collection in Slovenia.
The Boljkovac family has not commented so far.
Ljubljana police said on Friday they had launched an investigation into the incident, “with the cooperation of relevant institutions”.
Car insisted he had personally seen the certificates of authenticity for the paintings, but nevertheless resigned on Thursday, admitting he had been “naive” about the works.
The museum’s website removed all references to the canceled exhibit on Friday.