elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
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elisa_rolle

Fernand Legros & Real Lessard

Fernand Legros (26 January 1931 – 7 April 1983) was an art dealer who, together with his lover Real Lessard, sold the art forgeries of Elmyr de Hory.

Legros first wished to be a ballet dancer. After World War II he moved from Cairo to Paris. He married an American woman, possibly as a way of gaining US citizenship; Legros was homosexual.

Legros met de Hory in the 1950s when they were rooming in Miami in a house of a mutual acquaintance. He had recently come from France without his wife. Legros was apparently impressed by de Hory's skill and persuaded him to be his agent for a 40% cut.

In the following years the two men traveled all over the US and sold De Hory's paintings to galleries. Legros kept most of the profits without telling De Hory. Legros also befriended French-Canadian Real Lessard and they began an uneven relationship. Legros occasionally accused Lessard of infidelity, although he himself slept with other men.

De Hory eventually grew tired of the men and Legros' volatile temperament and moved to Europe. Next time he ran into Legros in Paris where Legros asked him to give him some of his paintings. When de Hory explained that his paintings were locked up in New York hotel, Legros proceeded to acquire them. He sold them in the international art market.


Fernand Legros (1931 - 1983) was an art dealer who, together with his lover Real Lessard, sold the art forgeries of Elmyr de Hory. In the 50s Legros and de Hory traveled all over the US and sold De Hory's paintings to galleries. Legros kept most of the profits without telling De Hory. Legros also befriended French-Canadian Real Lessard and they began an uneven relationship. Legros occasionally accused Lessard of infidelity, although he himself slept with other men. Legros died of throat cancer.



Year later, de Hory met Legros again and begun a new business relationship with him. Legros and Lessard would sell de Hory's painting and give him $400 a month plus an occasional bonus. They arranged de Hory to move to Ibiza in 1962. Legros and Lessard kept most of the profits and soon moved to a luxurious suit in Paris. They also built a villa for de Hory in Ibiza.

Legros sold the paintings with forged certificates. He fooled a number of US collectors, including Algur H. Meadows of General American Oil Company. Sometimes Legros and Lessard would acquire old art books and replace the attached pictures of the real paintings with those of de Hory's forgeries. After a lengthy trial in Paris, Legros was sentenced to four years in prison and was immediately set free, having already spent an equivalent time in various jails.

Sometimes Legros would cross the US border and when the customs checked his luggage, he said that the paintings were just copies. US customs officials contacted art experts to verify it. The expert decided that the paintings were actually genuine and Legros would be liable for a toll. Later Legros used the US customs documents to verify the authenticity of the paintings.

In 1964 figures in the art market became suspicious and police begun to close in. Legros and Lessard moved to Zurich and sent de Hory to Australia for a year. Later Legros moved into Ibiza and evicted de Hory. Shortly afterwards police apprehended Legros and Lessard, charged them with forgery and fraud. The men were given prison sentences.

Legros died of throat cancer.

Fernand Legros was the inspiration for the character Endaddine Akass in the unfinished Tintin album Tintin and Alph-Art.

Réal Lessard was born November 15, 1939 in Mansonville, Canada. He led a quiet life until his eighteen years. He dreamed of traveling and becoming an artist. Soon, he felt he must go. Hitchhiking, he sets out to conquer the world. In Miami, he met his fate Fernand Legros. Unscrupulous art dealer, Legros quickly discovered the innate talent Réal Lessard painted, without knowing it, in the manner of great Fauves turn of the century. Promising a show that will never happen, Legros sold the paintings without the knowledge of the artist as authentic Dufy, Matisse, Derain, Van Dongen, Modigliani and many others. He managed to get everyone in his pocket experts, beneficiaries and even widows painters. The world was awash with raw Réal Lessard. Lessard discovered the scam but dared not speak. It will not take long for the Association of Art Dealers Americans to intervene and the affair will culminate in a trial. Real was cleared but he had to prove that thousands of paintings, from his meeting with Legros, were from his brush.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernand_Legros

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher


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Tags: days of love, eccentric: fernand legros
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