Can You Identify the Forgery? One of These Old Master Paintings Is an Impostor

Can You Identify the Forgery? One of These Old Master Paintings Is an Impostor
Ideal view of Dulwich Picture Gallery by J.M. Gandy, 1823 (note: this painting is not a fake...as far as we know)

Since February, an impostor has lurked inside the halls of the Dulwich Picture Gallery . The museum, located in London and known for its excellent collection of Old Master paintings, has been testing the connoisseurship skills of its visitors with a conceptual art project by the American artist Doug Fishbone. Titled Made in China , the project has unfolded in stages. First, Fishbone commissioned a replica of a work in the museum's collection from a professional copyist in China, and surreptitiously installed it in the museum (in the original's frame). He then challenged visitors to identify the interloper. Finally, on April 28, the museum circulated the correct answer on social media and placed the two works, original and copy, side by side.

Can you spot the fake? One of the 10 paintings shown below is Fishbone's contemporary reproduction (all images represent paintings currently on view at the Dulwich Picture Gallery). Choose carefully; then, scroll down to see if you’re right.

Boy as Shepherd 1. A Boy as a Shepherd by Sir Peter Lely, c. 1658-60

Called Nathan Field 2. Called Nathan Field by members of the British School, c. 1615

A Bull 3. A Bull by Balthazar Paul Ommeganck, c. 1780s

Portrait of a Young Woman 4. Portrait of a Young Woman by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1769

Christ Carried to the Tomb 5. Christ Carried to the Tomb by Sisto Badalocchio, c. 1607

Boats in a Storm 6. Boats in a Storm by Ludolf Bakhuizen, 1696

Venus and Cupid 7. Venus and Cupid by Giovanni Battista Paggi, c. 1575-81

Princess Victoria Aged Four 8. Princess Victoria Aged Four by Stephen Poyntz Denning, 1823

Head of a Hound 9. Head of a Hound by Peter Boel, c. 1660-65

The Judde Memorial 10. The Judde Memorial by members of the British School, c. 1560

If you guessed #4, you're right! The painting above is a contemporary copy of Fragonard's Portrait of a Young Woman (c. 1769). Here's the original:

Portrait of a Young Woman

And here's the two paintings next to each other, for your comparison (the fake is on the right):


Read more about Fishbone's vision for the project in his interview with Phaidon here . For more on the long history of art forgeries, check out art crime expert Noah Charney's excellent book The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives, and Methods of Master Forgers , published by Phaidon books, as well as our own interview with homegrown master forger Mark Landis.


a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.


through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.


authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.


with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.


Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.