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Art scandal: Questions raised over million-dollar Whiteley

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Doubts have been raised over the authenticity of another painting claimed to be by celebrated Australian artist Brett Whitely.

Wendy Whiteley has told The Age the painting titled Bather and Garden, which sold for $1.5 million in 2006, was not by her late former husband.

The 1976 painting’s exclusion from a soon-to-be-published list of the artist’s work by a Melbourne art historian is likely to render it worthless, The Age reports.

But Professor Christopher Marshall, art historian at the University of Melbourne, said it’s possible another art historian will find that it is a Whiteley.

“That’s just the way of the art market,” he told Ross and John.

Ross Stevenson asked whether it was more likely the painting deliberately or innocently resembled a Whiteley.

“The other possibility is maybe it was Brett Whiteley on a bad day,” he said.

“He was a heroin addict and he’s a very uneven painter, so I guess sometimes the difference between bad Whiteley and a fake Whiteley can be a bit of a fuzzy line and hard to determine.”

Click PLAY for the full chat with Professor Marshall