Million-Dollar Mistakes: Get Your Fake Rembrandt on eBay

by Henry Kaye on July 28, 2014 Blurb

The alleged Rembrandt, signed RF

The alleged Rembrandt, signed RF

There are a ton of forgeries on the art market right now, and the Internet is (and always has been) just generally teeming with fraudulence. These two facts being said, any serious buyer would dismiss an old master being sold online as sketchy. But that doesn’t stop some people from trying to sell million-dollar mistakes online.

Take, for example, this Rembrandt being sold on eBay for $999,000 (with $185.81 for shipping fees) by a user under the name ukR10. Not much is known about this oil painting, except that it’s a portrait of the Evangelist Matthew signed, “Rf,” which in Latin is an abbreviation essentially meaning “Rembrandt made.”

In the item description, the seller has called upon the opinions of two professors to attest to the painting’s veracity—but both writers seem skeptical of the authenticity of the painting. At the very least, including written statements in which both experts express their doubts appears to be a bold move on the part of the seller.

Jean-Marie Clarke, an art historian who has been working with Rembrandt works for thirty years wrote that “the old man’s face is too well painted to be by the young Rembrandt, who, around 1630, was still working toward an accurate rendition of the human likeness.” This contradicts the format of the signature, which looks more like the autograph of a younger Rembrandt.  A second art historian, Gary Schwartz was more upfront: “The painting does not seem to have the quality that would convince art historians and collectors that it was made by Rembrandt. However, it is not un-interesting.”

As one can imagine, an offer has yet to be placed.


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