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  • Writer's pictureVan Weyenbergh Fine Art

1700 "Real" fake Rodin Sculptures sold for $ 60Millions worldwide...

Updated: Mar 15, 2019

The saga of the “Real” fake Rodin sculptures again in justice courts

Industrial made fakes or are they simple posthumous casts?

The Court of Appeal of Paris judges a company ( Gruppo Mondiale) and its manager for having manufactured and sold abroad works produced from original molds of Auguste Rodin works, without the authorization of the Rodin museum.

The defendants, including Gary Snell, American manager of the company Gruppo Mondiale, are prosecuted for casting and marketing works by Rodin.

Gruppo Mondiale is accused of making reproductions from the original plaster molds Rodin made for Rudier Foundry, without mentioning that they are reproductions.

Rodin museum in Paris, which holds the moral rights of the artist considers them as forgeries. Justice had been seized in March 2001 after Rodin Museum filed a complaint against Gruppo Mondiale for fraud and forgery.. Will the case finally be decided 18 years later?

In November 2014, at a first trial, the Criminal Court declared itself incompetent, considering that it was not proven that the sculptures were manufactured, exhibited or sold on French territory. The prosecution appealed this decision and obtained a new trial. At the new trial October 2017, the defendants did not show up: Gary Snell had a stroke, another had never received the summons, a third had not responded.

Gruppo Mondiale being liquidated in the mean tine was no longer represented.

The case had been postponed until June 2018, but again it had been postponed. The trial should start this O2/20/18 until Friday.

Court expert estimated that Gruppo Mondiale made around 1700 bronzes based on 52 Rodin molds for a damage of +/- 60 million euros. In the first trial, Gary Snell had only recognized the edition of about 500 pieces. The Bronzes were made from authentic studio plasters Rudier Foundry sold to Gruppo Mondiale. These major works were reproduced: The Kiss, The Thinker or The hand of God. These works, some of which have been exhibited as originals, did not bear the words "reproduction".

The defense of Gary Snell had argued that the Rodin museum was warned of the project of "posthumous casts" and that the museum wanted only to "protect its privilege " on the sale of derivatives. On the contrary, in the name of protection of "national and universal heritage", public prosecutor had denounced a "false advertising" and forgeries bearing "the stamp of Rodin", with "a numbered edition and a certificate of authenticity likely to disappoint " the buyers".

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