Fake Monet and Renoir on eBay among 40 fakes identified by AI

A Monet and a Renoir are among 40 fake paintings being put up for sale on eBay, according to research by a leading expert.

Dr Carina Popovici, a specialist in the authentication of works of art, said she applied cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology to the images advertised on the online platform and was surprised at discovered that many had a high probability of not being authentic.

So far he has found up to 40 fake paintings and said there are many more.

The algorithm identified them all as fakes, he said.

We looked and downloaded some images today, and there were fakes everywhere. Everything we’ve analyzed turns out not to be real art, a negative probability of 95% or so. I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Images that have been identified as fakes by AI tests include one advertised as a Monet, titled Forest With a Stream and priced at $599,000 (477,000) and one listed as a Renoir, described as a study by Claude Renoir, costing $165,000.

On its website, eBay states: We do not allow counterfeit items or unauthorized copies to appear.

The Renoir’s listing was removed after The Guardian contacted the Florida-based seller using the eBay username meta. In a message to the Guardian they said they were not selling fake art.

The Renoir that was for sale on eBay was removed after the seller was contacted by the Guardian. Photo: eBay

The seller of Monet, has the old eBay user page and is based in Millersburg, Ohio. They have not responded to the Guardian.

A listing description says: I fully warrant that the painting is an original 1867 oil on canvas signed and dated by Claude Monet. The painting is not in perfect condition and I have no provenance beyond having it for over 20 years.

Popovici has repeatedly written to the platform since December 2023 to air his concerns. He contacted their offices in the UK, Germany and the US.

In his emails, he said the problem needed to be taken with the seriousness it deserved.

She is still waiting for an answer. She said: I tried so hard to talk to them. I am very frustrated that they are not responding. I am really very upset about this. They have a responsibility. They can’t pretend they don’t see what’s going on, because there’s a lot of it. There are clear signs that there is a major problem.

Ebay told the Guardian: The sale of counterfeit items is strictly prohibited on eBay and we are committed to ensuring that products sold on our platform are genuine.

We do this using multiple layers of AI technology, professionally trained eBay researchers and buyer protection programs. eBay proactively blocked 88 million suspected counterfeits from being posted in 2022, while removing 1.3 million items from the platform following a review by an eBay researcher.

In this case, we had already removed one of the items marked for us.

Popovici is the head of Art Recognition, a Swiss company that collaborates on research with the University of Liverpool and Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

Its technology uses two types of artificial neural networks to analyze artists’ works in intricate detail, from brushstroke patterns to color palettes. Art Recognition has applied it to more than 500 works in various collections. He gave a Rubens painting in the National Gallery A View of Het Steen in the early hours of the morning a probability of 98.76% in favor of the artist. But it also challenged the attribution to the Flemish master of Samson and Delilah, supporting long-held doubts by some critics that it was only a copy. The technology has also supported the identification of contested works, such as an 1889 self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh in Oslo’s National Museum.

Popovici said technology had transformed the ability to spot fakes online: In the past, it was very difficult to spot these things, because you can’t sample an image on the Internet. But with new technology, it’s easy. You can just download an image and then in 10 minutes, you will know. I think people should be warned.

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Image Source : www.theguardian.com

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