- Guy Hain
Guy Hain begun as a seller of veterinary products. In his job he met a number of
veterinarians who had antique bronze sculptures of animals and developed an interest of them. In 1962 he spent 550,000 contemporary francs for Rodin's Kiss. When he was barred working as a salesman, he became an art dealer. He opened a gallery "Aux ducs de Bourgogne" in the Louvre des Antiquairesantique center. He closed the gallery in 1988.
Hain approached the
foundryof Rudier that was one of the foundries that had produced Rodin's bronze sculptures at the beginning of the 20th century. He convinced the owners Georges and Bernard Rudier to use the original molds to recast known Rodin works. He set up a chasing shop in Nogent-sur-Marneand 1990 bought the Balland foundry in Luxeuil-les-Bainsand managed them with his wife.
Since the bronzes were based on the original moulds, the experts could not see the difference. Some of the bronzes were also made based on production
plastercopies used 75-90 years previously.
Hain sold thousands of new bronzes to art dealers as originals, using the signature of Alexis Rudier, the original caster for Rodin. He earned equivalent to FFR 130 million ($18.2 million). He later claimed that he had a contract to use the name of Alexis but the Rudiers contested that.
He expanded to the production to copies from other sculptors like
Aldred Baryeand Antoine-Louis Barye, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Camille Claudel, Christophe Fratin, Emmanuel Frémiet, Aristide Maillol, Pierre-Jules Meneand Pierre Auguste Renoir. He practically flooded the art market with his copies.
In January 1992 police inspectors from
Dijon, Burgundy, arrested Hain and seized about 20 metric tons of bronze sculptures in various foundries in Burgundy and Paris.
January 17, 1996, Hain appeared in court in Lure, central France, accused of forgery. On June 28 1997he was sentenced to four years in jail but served only 18 months. Rambouillet auctioneers "Rey et Faure" were also charged with complicity for selling the bronzes in their own auctions between 1987-1991. They had sold copies worth of about $3 million. Big bronze would-be-Rodin called "The Kiss" was sold for FFr4.5 million ($800.000). They were later discharged.
Other auctions houses like
Christie'sand Sotheby'shad also sold the copies to their customers.
January 27, 2006a public auction organized by DNID (Direction Nationale d'Interventions Domaniales) was held in Dijon, France, with 73 bronzes in exhibition. Five pieces were removed from the sale and 68 remained."Angélique et Roger montés sur l'hippogriffe" "d'après" Antoine Barye, unmounted,sandcast bronze sculpture without inscription was adjuged 54 000 €. [ [http://www.ventes-domaniales.fr/eQ_infomobilier.php3?rub=&idlot=1100019222 Public auction result at ventes-domaniales.fr] fr icon] An original piece was auctionned a record price, 310 000 US dollars at Christie on 25 April 2003. [ [http://www.artmarketinsight.com/fr/art_article.aspx?idfrom=2&from=T&id=150 Les prix des animaliers galopent toujours] fr icon]
When Hain was released, he continued the practice: he had the bronzes produced in stages, one foundry making casting, one chasing and one the
patination. In 2000 he registered the names of Alexis and Georges Rudier - alongside with a number of other foundries - as trademarks he was supposedly allowed to use. Georges Rudier sued him to get the names back.
He was rearrested 2002 and went to a court in April. Evidence collected by Dijon police department consisted of 1,100 copies of works of 98 different French sculptors. Prosecutor asked for five years in prison and FFr2 million fine.
The art dealers and collectors became very suspect of bronze works. Conservator Gilles Perrault calculated that Hain had had produced over 6,000 copies beyond those the police had confiscated. Only one-third of the copies had been traced.
* [http://www.museum-security.org/02/099.html Museumsecurity.org - "The Art World: Fake bronzes flood market"]
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