Skip to comments.'Black Admiral' Painting Found to Be a Fraud
Posted on 05/18/2006 7:09:08 PM PDT by tbird5
A portrait of a dashing young sea captain often called the "Black Admiral" was supposed to be a centerpiece for an exhibition of paintings from the Revolutionary War era about black patriots and loyalists. But the portrait, often seen in books on African-American history, was recently discovered to be a fraud.
Peter Williams, an expert on painting restoration, was hired to clean the portrait for an exhibit at the historic Fraunces Tavern Museum titled "Fighting for Freedom: Black Patriots and Black Loyalists." But with a quick dab of special paint remover, he discovered that black paint concealed a portrait of a white sailor underneath.
The painting is owned by Alexander McBirney, a retired doctor living in Rhode Island. Williams says he admires McBirney for wanting the truth to be revealed.
"He could have kept the secret and sold the painting for a huge profit," Williams says.
Williams believes the fraud was probably committed sometime in the early 1970s. He completed the restoration and McBirney kept the painting.
"I believe it now proudly rests in Dr. McBirney's living room," he says.
And I suppose that portrait of all those dogs playing poker is a fraud too?
That was a photograph, silly!
Someone's having a good laugh.
Funny thing is, the owner had the face repainted black.
Lousy effort at making the guy a black man. He looks green. First alien admiral of the Revolution?
Are you sure? That part seemed vague.
Maybe it was one of J.J.'s paintings from Good Times.
Reactions from NPR's listeners:
Mary Mapes: "It may be fake, but it certainly looks accurate."
Rosie O'Donnell: "It's a historical fact that both the painter and subject were gay lovers."
John Kerry: "That painting was given to me by a CIA agent in the summer of '68 while I was on a secret mission in Cambodia. I threw it over the museum fence in 1976."
I certainly am!
Was there ever an original or is this the story of a black wash?
Fraud or not - - that painting will remain in government school textbooks forever, right next to the painting of the black, Asian, and Latino women firefighters raising the flag at Ground Zero and the missing pictures of the twelve men who walked on the moon.
Those are pretty good!