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Conman faces jail for putting fake Freud painting on eBay for £3,000

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Conman faces jail for putting fake Freud painting on eBay for £3,000

Conman faces jail for pretending to have solved one of art’s great mysteries by putting fake Lucian Freud masterpiece up for sale on eBay for £3,000

  • Vincent Dyer, 66, claimed the painting had been given to his father years ago 
  • The original, Portrait of Francis Bacon, was stolen from an art museum in 1988 
  • Dyer has been convicted of fraud by false representation and is due to be sentenced tomorrow 

By Isabella Nikolic For Mailonline

Published: 14:11 EDT, 3 June 2019 | Updated: 15:45 EDT, 3 June 2019

Vincent Dyer, 66, (pictured leaving Uxbridge magistrates’ court) has been convicted of three counts of fraud by false representation

A conman who put a fake Lucien Freud portrait for sale on eBay for £3,000 is now facing jail after being convicted of fraud by false representation. 

Vincent Dyer, 66, from Greenford, claimed the painting had been given to his father and was kept in ‘secure storage’ for years. 

The original painting, Portrait of Francis Bacon, was stolen from Berlin’s National Gallery in 1988 and the Kray twins have since been linked to its disappearance. 

The artwork, worth millions of pounds, is still missing. 

Freud, whose most expensive painting sold for £22.5million, even offered a £100,000 reward for the recovery of the stolen portrait. 

Dyer advertised the counterfeit artwork on eBay three times, twice in 2017 and once in 2018, claiming it was genuine. 

But he was later discovered to have bought it in 2012, knowing it was fake. 

He denied three charges of fraud by false representation but was convicted by a jury last month and is due to be sentenced tomorrow at Isleworth Crown Court. 

According to the Evening Standard, CPS prosecutor Marie Olo said: ‘Dyer dishonestly tried to sell a replica of a well-known Lucian Freud painting to make a gain for himself.

The original painting, Portrait of Francis Bacon, was stolen from Berlin’s National Gallery in 1988 and the Kray twins have since been linked to its disappearance

‘He claimed the false advert had only ever been a ‘sales pitch’ to attract interest but the prosecution was able to prove that he had deliberately aimed to mislead the public into believing he was selling a famed original. 

‘Art fraud is illegal and the CPS will prosecute those who seek to deceive the public.’

In May last year the Mail on Sunday that Bacon received a ransom demand for the painting in 1989 and was apparently poised to recover the work – only for the operation to be wrecked by a police blunder. 

Freud later plastered Berlin with ‘Wanted’ posters of the image, offering a £100,000 reward for its recovery so he could include it in a retrospective of his work

Although the Tate has never claimed the insurance money, because it has hoped to be reunited with the painting, Bacon, who died in 1992, was more pessimistic. ‘Most likely it was burnt,’ he says on the recording. Pictured is Lucien Freud

Barry Joule, Bacon’s close friend and neighbour in London’s South Kensington, has now revealed that the artist received a phone call in his studio from ‘a tough-sounding East End man, probably an associate of the Krays’. 

Bacon believed that the recovery operation failed because the gangsters saw police officers at the scene.  

For weeks afterwards, Bacon ‘remained paranoid that the Krays and associates would be ‘out to get me for grassing to the police’,’ said Joule, who added: ‘If it wasn’t for policemen sitting in their car right outside the building, Francis might have got the stolen painting back.’ 

In a recorded interview with Joule three months after the ransom blunder, Bacon spoke of ‘how much the police have gone down in my estimation’. 

Freud later plastered Berlin with ‘Wanted’ posters of the image, offering a £100,000 reward for its recovery so he could include it in a retrospective of his work.

Although the Tate has never claimed the insurance money, because it has hoped to be reunited with the painting, Bacon, who died in 1992, was more pessimistic. ‘Most likely it was burnt,’ he says on the recording.

In 2004, Joule gave the Tate 1,200 Bacon sketches. They were then valued at about £20million.  

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