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PORTRAIT PURCHASED ONLINE DEEMED A LOST DE KOONING

A painting bought online for 450 Euros in 2015 has been deemed a lost work of art, worth far more than its initial purchase price.

On the BBC series Fake or Fortune, art expert Philip Mould assisted a Belgian couple in discovering that a painting they bought on a website selling second-hand items was in fact a lost work of art by Dutch artist Willem de Kooning.  

The episode follows Jan and Chris Starckx as they queried whether their painting, signed 'Wim Kooning', was indeed painted by the artist in Brussels at the start of his career in the 1920's.

Lost de Kooning work of art

'Portrait of a Child', attributed to Willem de Kooning, with Philip Mould, Fiona Bruce, and owners Jan Starckx and Chris Starckx.

The couple travelled to Miami with Philip Mould to have the painting scientifically analysed and examined against a verified de Kooning of the same period.  Although the paintings were elementally identical, expert Dr. Bruce Kaiser pointed out that that form of analysis could not definitively prove that the works were created by the same artist. Furthermore, the de Kooning Foundation in the US does not authenticate works of art, so Mould decided to do his own research.

Mould said: "We had hit a brick wall - the recognised authorities were unable to engage. More than ever we had to fall back on our own art historical and scientific observations.

"Fortunately the evidence that then emerged was transformative. A junk shop-type speculation can now be identified as an early work by one of the most celebrated abstract artists of the 20th century."

The painting, titled 'Portrait of a Child' could be worth £50,000, say the experts.