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Fake Monet for $600,000. Artificial intelligence identified 40 fake paintings on eBay

Fake Monet for $600,000. Artificial intelligence identified 40 fake paintings on eBay
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Researchers used AI to analyze images of paintings sold on eBay and found almost 40 fakes. Among them are counterfeit "Monet" and "Renoir", which were trying to be auctioned for between $150,000 and $600,000.

"At the beginning, we analyzed several images, and everywhere there were fakes. The probability is around 95%. I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg," said authentication specialist and art expert Dr. Karina Popovich to The Guardian.

Among the paintings recognized as fakes, one was advertised as a work of French artist Claude Monet "Wooded Stream" and was being sold for $600,000, and another was presented as a piece by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, priced at $165,000.

"We do not allow the posting of counterfeits or unauthorized copies," - stated on the eBay website.

After journalists from The Guardian contacted the seller of the "Renoir", who lives in Florida, the painting page was removed from the site. However, in response to a comment request, the individual wrote that they "do not sell fakes".

Fake "Renoir" was removed from eBay after Guardian contacted the seller. Photo: eBay

The seller of the "Monet", who did not respond to the journalists' email, owns an antique page on eBay and is based in Millersburg, Ohio. The description of the painting noted:

"I fully guarantee that the painting is an original from 1867, painted in oil on canvas, signed and dated by Claude Monet. The painting is not in perfect condition, and I have no information about its origin, except that I have owned it for over 20 years."

Popovich has repeatedly contacted eBay offices in the UK, Germany, and the USA, but has not yet received a response.

"I tried to talk to them and am very upset that they do not respond. They are responsible and cannot pretend that this problem does not exist."

In an official comment from eBay, quoted by The Guardian, it is said that the platform also uses AI to verify paintings along with human specialists.

"We list paintings using a multi-level verification technology with AI, professionally trained individuals, and a buyer protection program. In 2022, we proactively blocked the publication of 88 million potential counterfeits, and 1.3 million items were removed from the platform after eBay investigators checked them."

Popovich heads Art Recognition a Swiss company that collaborates in research with the University of Liverpool and Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Their technology uses two types of artificial neural networks to analyze artists' works in complex details, from stroke patterns to color palettes.

Artificial intelligence discovered that a painting, priced at $599,000 on eBay and positioned as a Monet's work, had a "high probability" of being non-authentic. Photo: eBay

Art Recognition applied the tool to over 500 paintings in various collections. For example, Rubens' work "View of the Het Steen in the Morning" at the National Gallery was identified as original at 98.76%, while another painting by the Flemish master, "Samson and Delilah," was identified as questionable, confirming the suspicions of some critics about a copy.

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