Rodchenko and Tatlin fakes force closure of Russian avant-garde exhibition at Finland's Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art

Operations were halted after multiple experts questioned the authenticity of the exhibition's content, which had been sourced from private collections


Suspected fake works by Rodchenko and Tatlin led to the early closure of an exhibition at the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art in Turku, west Finland. “The Circle, the Line, the Point” showed Russian avant-garde art from two unnamed private Finnish collections. It opened on 12 June and closed on 27 July, seven weeks earlier than planned.

Art critic Otso Kantokorpi was the first to raise doubts, in an article for Finnish newspaper Kauppalehti. The museum began investigations, which led to 19 works being withdrawn. Museum director Päivi Kiiski told The Art Newspaper that when the Rodchenko foundation was contacted via a Helsinki-based art historian, Iliana Mejias-Ojajärvi, it said that several works attributed to and signed by Rodchenko did not show sufficient features of the artist’s oeuvre and technique. When suspicions about the Tatlin works were also substantiated by Jyrki Siukonen, artist and researcher at the Academy of Fine Arts in Finland, the whole show of 112 works was closed. At least seven works by Rodchenko and seven by Tatlin are very likely to be fakes, according to the museum.

It was the first time the museum had collaborated with curator Paola Volkova, a Russian art historian recommended by the principal lender to the show, as an expert. According to Kiiski, the lender has collaborated frequently with leading art museums in Finland. “His collection consists mainly of Finnish art from the fin-de-siècle and the first half of the 20th century; all these works are well known and have been researched,” she said.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Russian fakes force closure of Finnish exhibition'