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Prestigious Buffalo Church Auction Yields a Fine Forgery

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By Mary Kunz Goldman

Tragically, we don't have the Trinity Episcopal Church White Elephant Sale any more. We do, however, have the church's annual Snowflakes and Starlight Auction, which was Wednesday.

There was, to quote one friend of ours, "prodigious spending." She herself, coming to her senses the next afternoon, had to sit down and make a list of the "unnecessary objects" that had followed her home:

-- Five wallets with two micro coin purses (they were all in one lot)

-- An American Kestral wind chime, (that looked artisan made until we hung it up by the kitchen window and noticed the coin-sized made-in-China sticker)

-- a black and white photo of the yacht club that neither one of us has any affiliation with

 -- And the coup de grace ....

... a nude print by French artist Maillol, authenticated by an Ohio gallery. That is a picture of this find at the top of this post. It came with a certificate sealed in plastic on the back, affirming that it was, indeed, the work of Maillol. Here is a sculpture by Maillol at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.


It is a statue of our friend despairing when she realized that her wind chime was made in China! But let us continue our story.

Eager to find out more about her own personal Maillol, our friend Googled the Ohio gallery guy whose name was on the authentication certificate. His name was Cornell Gabos. She got a surprise. He was part of a justice department sting on forgers producing tens of thousands of prints in the '80s. She told us, "News stories from the '90s told of how he was indicted and on the lam." 

Wow! Cool! Our friends had fun breaking the news to the kids that the new print in the hallway was "a real forgery." 

So much more interesting than if it had just been a plain old Maillol, you know?

"Of all the needless objects we acquired," they said, "our favorite is the forgery."



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