A Kirkcaldy artist whose discovery of a possible Picasso painting went global has admitted the story was a hoax.
Dominic Currie (58) claimed he opened a suitcase in his Methil attic and was astonished to find what could be a long-lost masterpiece.
If anyone was hurt or felt let down by this experiment I can only apologiseDom Currie
Also contained within the suitcase were various items of Russian origin - including old money, travel documents, letters and, crucially, a photograph of a Nicolai Vladimirovch, who Mr Currie claimed was his secret father.
However, research undertaken by Bendor Grosvenor - an art specialist in Edinburgh - has uncovered that, under Mr Currie’s wife’s eBay account, Russian memorabilia was bought over the past six months.
Furthermore, one item bought on April 1 appeared to be a frame similar to that which held the photograph of Nicolai Vladimirovich
The painting, which bore a striking resemblance to a genuine Picasso painting, entitled “Portrait of Khanweiler,” was due to be examined by Christie’s auctioneers on Wednesday.
The Press approached Mr Currie for a statement on Friday morning and he strenuously denied any involvement in buying the items.
He subsequently contacted Mr Grosvenor, who stood by his claims, and advised Mr Currie to put a positive spin on the story by publically stating the Picasso discovery was simply a piece of performance art, designed to explore aspects of authenticity in the modern media world.
Two hours later, Mr Currie released the following statement to the Fife Free Press: “As a Pop Artist that borrows explicitly from other artists work I was interested in exploring aspects of authenticity in the modern media world.
“Thus the story of the Picasso discovery was merely an experiment and a piece of performance art as a way towards putting this to the test.
“The painting was produced several years ago in the style and manner of Picasso’s cubist painting of Daniel Kahnweiler.
“It was never meant to sell as a Picasso only as an experiment with the broad and mass media fascination and obsession with such iconic items.
“The fact that such an iconic work of art such as this “Picasso” had an added interest around it with an enigmatic and romantic story added to the mystique and frenzy over such iconic works.
“It has taught me a lot about the media and about the public’s fascination with such icons in a day and age where good artists and art are overlooked in favour of the big name celebrities. Without a sponsor these artists wither and die.
“If anyone was hurt or felt let down by this experiment I can only apologise. It was never meant to upset or to exploit anyone. It was merely a piece of performance art that had an iconic name and it was this name that carried it forward. I take full responsibility.”
He added: “I can only hope that everyone learns from this as I have done and question the iconoclasm that surrounds such works of art and pay more attention to the throng of great budding artists that never see the light of day.”
Previously, Mr Currie claimed the painting had belonged to his mother who revealed only two years before she died in 2000 that, during 1955, she had fallen pregnant to a Russian soldier.
According to Mr Currie, she also revealed her Soviet lover had gifted her a painting to sell later that decade but Dominic dismissed her story as fantasy - until he opened the suitcase himself four weeks ago.