The painting, Two Hacks, the property of Henry Ulrick Reay Esq of Burn Hall Co. Durham and their blue-liveried groom in a landscape, was deaccessioned by The Huntington Library in California and was then offered at Christie’s June 2016 sale ‘Living with Art’ in New York saleroom where it was catalogued as ‘after George Stubbs’. It sold for $215,000 over a high estimate of $5000.
Bendor Grosvenor of BBC’s Fake or Fortune dubbed it “one of the biggest deaccessioning blunders of modern times”.
The painting, now being offered as the work of Stubbs, the English artist who is best remembered for his for paintings of horses. It is priced at £750,000,
The painting measures 21 ½ x 2ft 5in (55 x 74 cm) and is offered in a fine carved and gilded George III giltwood frame. It is signed in the lower right hand corner and is dated 1789, putting it a year ahead of another version held in a private collection. The pentimenti visible in the readjustment of the left hind leg of the leading horse has been given as evidence the Parker Gallery’s version is the original.
"I'm very excited to show this re-discovered work at BADA 2017,” says Archie Parker, who founded The Parker Gallery in 2014. “For a long time it has been hidden in a dark store thought to be a copy. This discovery shows that even the major auction houses can make mistakes."
“The newly discovered Stubbs will be a welcome addition to the many exceptional objects of fine art, antiques and design on display,” said Marco Forgione, CEO of BADA, who called the painting a “brilliant find”.
BADA 2017 features more than 100 dealers and runs from March 15-21.