Episode 1 of 4
Duration: 1 hour
Journalist Fiona Bruce teams up with art expert Philip Mould to investigate mysteries behind paintings. It is a world of subterfuge and intrigue as they grapple with complex battles often unseen beneath the apparently genteel art establishment. Their sleuthing takes them from New York to Cairo and Cape Town as... > Show more
The first work to be investigated: Monet – Bords de la Seine a ArgenteuilIn the art world Monet means money. Wealthy collectors will bid tens of millions of pounds to own a painting by this famous Impressionist who, perhaps more than any other artist, has managed to captivate the world. But in order to make millions, paintings thought to be by Monet must have been accepted into the official register; the catalogue raisonne - a five-volume tome which lists every acknowledged Monet in existence. The catalogue is published not by an academic institution, but by a family of art collectors and art dealers; the Wildensteins. For the last 18 years art collector David has been imploring the Institute to accept his painting as a genuine Monet. Despite his research and support of some of the world's heavyweight Monet scholars, Guy Wildenstein refuses to accept the painting.
Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce join forces with the world’s most prestigious art galleries and research institutes in an effort to prove the attribution of this painting.The challenge: to gather enough evidence to convince the Wildensteins to include it in the great book- the Monet catalogue raisonne. A difference that would make a huge difference to the value of the picture too.
Along the way, we enlist the help of some of the world’s greatest art galleries... we follow a fascinating and far-reaching provenance trail which takes us from Monet's beloved banks on the River Seine near Paris, to a grand mansion on the Nile - home of a wealthy Egyptian collector with an expensive taste in French art.