A new scandal has been shakening the world of Parisian auctioneers following the disclosure in the French press that 20 forged works sold as by Spanish contemporary artist Miguel Barcelo were auctioned in 1988 and 1989 by the Versailles grouping of Perrin, Royère, Lajeunesse.
These works, which Barcelo described as fakes after the sales, were auctioned at prices ranging from $ 30,000 to US $ 130,000. These had been offered for sale by two person, a man and a female courtier, without the assistance of an expert or the knowledge of Barcelo's representative in France art dealer Yvon Lambert.
The auctioneers are also accused of having illegally acted as intermediaries for selling works, those of Barcelo and others, genuine, by contemporary artists, outside auction sales. According to French jurisdiction, auctioneers are only allowed to sell works of art through auctions.
The scandal followed the arrest on October 24th 1997 of auction king Guy Loudmer who has been charged for embezzling part of the profits (some US $ 84 millions) of the Bourdon sale which took place in March 1990. According to well-informed sources at least five other Parisian auctioneers might be charged for fund mishandling in the near future. Some of them have incurred important deficits and may not be in a position to continue their office in the absence of clear records. The profession's resistance to the offensive led by Anglo-Saxons houses, such as Sotheby's and Christie's, to hold sales in Paris now seems much dented following these scandals.