The Rape of LaBelle

By: Harry HAHN, [int. Thomas Hart Benton]

Price: $10.00

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Very Good


A painting, La Belle Ferronière, was presented as a wedding present by a French aristocrat to a middle-class, Franco-American couple, Harry and Andrée Hahn, just after the First World War. I don't think it will spoil things to reveal that it almost certainly isn't by Leonardo; rather, it's a copy of the one of the same title that hangs in the Louvre. When the couple attempted to sell the painting in 1920, the most powerful art dealer of the day, Joseph Duveen, dismissed it as a third-rate copy. The couple sued for "defamation of title" and a court case followed that made headlines across America. Duveen called an array of his art-world chums as witnesses, all of whom rejected the idea of the work being by Leonardo. The jury, alienated by the clubbiness on display, failed to reach a verdict and Duveen settled out of court. Reluctant to abandon their chance to make a fortune, the Hahns spent the remainder of the 20th century trying to find both a buyer for their "Leonardo" and a serious expert to authenticate it. They managed to exhibit the picture in a few department stores and in a gallery in LA, but from the 1960s onwards, the work became mired in complicated legal battles and they never managed to find a buyer. Meanwhile, Harry Hahn wrote a book, The Rape of LaBelle, a conspiracy theory about the art world.

Title: The Rape of LaBelle

Author Name: Harry HAHN, [int. Thomas Hart Benton]

Illustrator: Illustated

Categories: True Crime, Art,

Edition: 1st Edition

Publisher: Kansas City, Frank Glenn Pub.: 1946

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Very Good

Jacket Condition: Good

Type: Book

Seller ID: hh05

Keywords: ART INTRIGUE/ LEONARDO DIVINCI