Mattia Jona La Portantina +39 02 8053315

(London 1934 - Rome 1996)
A TURKISH HORSEMAN A forgery in the style of Stefano Della Bella, 1974

Pen and brown ink, washed in grey, over traces in black chalk; 240 x 185 mm.
The drawing, executed on a sheet of laid paper, is completely glued on a cardboard imitating an old mounting.
This forgery by Hebborn is quite well documented. Originally sold through Christie’s, Rome, 12 November 1974, it was published by Hebborn himself in his 1991 biography.

Eric Hebborn was certainly the most brilliant forger of drawings by Old Masters in the twentieth century. His biographical events, with all their novelistic features, are today known to anyone involved in collecting and studying drawings. Many good sources of information about him are available on the web. The entry on him in Wikipedia is reliable, and YouTube hosts a very interesting documentary on him done in 1991, which was the period of his greatest fame, just after publishing his autobiography, a public confession as a forger, but a forger never punished by law, who mocked the entire world of art trade.
I started dealing with Old Master drawings in the late seventies, so the 'Hebborn experience' was an important part of my professional training. I read his autobiography as soon as it was published: really exciting, even though I wondered why Eric Hebborn was not in jail, whether English or Italian. Anyway, I am certainly grateful to him who, with his forgeries, helped me to understand better the original drawings.