His colored drawings and his illustrated alphabet of the Bété language were a real revelation at the end of the 1980s. The work of the Ivorian artist Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, who died in 2014, is today in the greatest art collections. contemporary. A dimension that attracts more and more counterfeiters. The Venice Biennale even got it wrong last April. Explanations.
The first counterfeits of Frédéric Bruly Bouabré appeared before his death, but the fakes are found in the holy of holies, the Venice Biennale, the French gallery owner André Magnin, who discovered the Ivorian artist, still cannot believe it.
“There was an Ivorian pavilion, in a very respectable place, he remembers at the microphone of Claire Fages. There were four artists, I believe. And I discover a large number of Bouabré that I had never seen. As I have seen for years in auction houses, or collectors who come to me to authenticate them, for me, all these drawings are for me fakes”.
We could not reach the curator of the last Ivorian pavilion, Henri N’Koumo, but that of the first editions in Venice, Yacouba Konaté. For this other great connoisseur of Bouabré, the error was avoidable. “It’s a problem of rigor and decision-making, responsibility,” he says. Because even if we don’t have the training, some have it. If you ask those who know, they will tell you. Me, I did the first two editions of the Ivory Coast pavilions. But when I saw that certain authorities, in particular at the Italian Embassy, were trying to put me in partnerships that did not suit me, I gave up the apron.