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Police: Van Gogh Show A Fake

July 28, 1996

SAINT MALO, France (AP) _ It sounded too good to be true: an exhibition of 15 Van Gogh paintings from private collections, never before shown to the public.

Thousands of art lovers snapped up the $7 tickets, and the show’s two promoters collected about $50,000 before they were snapped up by police in this Brittany port town.

``Those paintings were made, for the most part, by `Sunday’ painters,″ prosecutor Bertrand Lederc said after consulting an expert. He said their value ran between $60 and $600 each _ compared with the tens of millions of dollars collectors have paid for genuine Van Goghs.

The organizers _ architect and painting teacher Jean-Marie Caldy and painter Jean-Luc Besnard _ have not yet been charged. If they are convicted of false advertising and fraud, they could face five years in prison and a $400,000 fine.

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