last moon

Friday, May 7, 2010

Nepro Mailliw


Who was he? The answer leads to a real spy-story, set in the First World War.
First of all the portrait: it was believed to be a fake, until the experts, arguing from its signature, which is the exact anagram of Orpen William, the Irish artist who realized the original one, hung in a major national museum.
Now the portrait has been valued £ 250,000, more than the house where it has been hanging for the past decades.
In the next days all the truth will be said over the astonishing story.

To know more:
By Paul Sims link below on the DM on line


Sometimes it pays to take a second look at a work of art.
When this 'copy' of a painting by wartime artist Sir William Orpen was first taken to the Antiques Roadshow, it was judged to be nothing special.
After experts from the long-running BBC programme did further research, however, they were astonished to find it was an original - and it was valued at an incredible £250,000.
The real deal: The owner of an original Sir William Orpen painting was shocked to discover it is worth £250,000

Irish portrait painter William Orpen created his artwork The Spy - of his mistress Yvonne Aubicque - as an escape from the daily trials of covering WWI.
The name of the painting aroused suspicions of the censor, Lieutenant-Colonel Lee, according to expert Rupert Maas.

'The idea of a spy was extremely tricky because the English spy Edith Cavell had just been executed and Mata Hari had also been executed,' Mr Maas said.

'Orpen was summoned back to London to explain himself and he tried to bluff it by creating a story. He said that the woman was a German spy who was to be shot by the French and he had been allowed just an hour to paint her.

'He said that she had been given the greatcoat to wear by one of the guards and she was hoping that when she took it off her simple beauty would astonish the firing squad and they wouldn't be able to pull the trigger.

Orpen then came clean and admitted the painting was of his lover. He was facing a court martial, but charmed Lft Col Lee with the help of Lord Beaverbrook. The painting was renamed The Refugee.

In a further twist, Ms Aubicque became involved with Orpen's chauffeur after the artist left France - and the pair both spied for Britain during WWII.

Grover-Williams was caught and shot and Yvonne returned to Britain, where she became a judge at dog show Crufts.
This not only made it worth more than the owner's house, but also the most valuable artwork ever to appear on the show.

The incredible story behind the painting will be revealed to viewers tomorrow.
The owner, who after learning the value of the painting now wishes to remain anonymous, was left 'completely gobsmacked' after discovering the truth about his heirloom.

Antiques Roadshow's Rupert Maas said: 'His uncle bought the painting because he loved it and the owner kept it and hung it in his home all these years because he loved it.
'Both men had no idea it was by Orpen himself and the current owner was staggered that is was worth so much money. He is a modest man of modest means,' Mr Maas added.

The man had inherited the picture, of Yvonne Aubicque, Sir William's beautiful young mistress, and hung it in his living room before taking it to a recording of the programme in Greenwich.
Orpen - an official war artist - was in France recording the horrors of the First World War trenches when he found time to paint his lover - the daughter of the Mayor of Lille.

His work shows the attractive young lady with red cheeks wearing an Army greatcoat.

The artist was threatened with court martial when his superiors learned he had taken time out for the private portrait, but he escaped punishment after the intervention of his friend Lord Beaverbrook.
As a thank you, Orpen painted a near-identical version of the portrait in 1920 and gave it to the aristocrat.
It was later bought by the current owner's uncle. The original is in the Imperial War Museum.

Mr Maas said he found references to the copy in a letter from Orpen to Lord Beaverbrook.


An inscription on the picture reads 'copy by person unknown' but Mr Maas suspected the painting was by Orpen after discovering his trademark signature Nepro Mailliw - his name spelled backwards - had been inscribed on the work.

Mr Maas said the second version was warmer and perhaps more desirable' than the original.
'It makes you wonder just how many people there are out there sitting on national treasures like this.'
The story behind the painting will be told on Sunday's episode of Antiques Roadshow ."


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1274294/Owner-fake-painting-gobsmacked-sets-Antiques-Roadshow-record-250-000.html#ixzz0nJfIHDzx

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