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Dali’s closest aide accused of forgery in moral rights case

1 November 2004

Salvador Dali’s former personal assistant has been found guilty of adulterating a valuable painting by his  ex-employer.

MSNBC reports that John Peter Moore, a British citizen who was Dali’s closest aide for over 20 years, was accused of manipulating the 1969 painting ‘The Double Image of Gala’, said the Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation last week.

According to a court ruling of Oct. 20, Moore reduced the size of the artwork, which was inspired by the painter's wife, Gala, and later hung it under a different name, ‘Dali Painting Gala’, at one of his galleries in Figueres.

Moore, now 85, was convicted with his wife, Catherine Perrot, of "damaging the moral rights of the author," said a spokesperson for the Foundation. Moral rights are designed to protect against the derogatory treatment of works of art.

Moore and his wife have also been ordered to pay the foundation an estimated $1.2 million in financial compensation. They must also bear the cost for restoring the painting.

Thieves stole the painting from New York's Knoedler Gallery in 1974. Worth $125,000 (£68,000) in 1975, it was sought worldwide for years by the FBI and Interpol. It was found in 1999 in the Perrot-Moore Art Center in the northeastern town of Cadaques, Dali's hometown.

The ruling contained no word on the painting's whereabouts between 1974 and 1999. A search of Moore's home and workshops at the time turned up 10,000 faked Dali lithographs. Moore was detained by police, but because of his advancing age he was released.

Dali and Moore first met in Rome, where Moore arranged payment for a portrait of British actor Sir Lawrence Olivier that Dali painted in 1955.

Moore became Dali's personal secretary, and is now considered to be an expert on the artist's work. He has put together an important collection of Dali's paintings, including "The Apotheosis of the Dollar," which he sold to the Foundation Gala-Dali.

The renowned artist died in 1989 of heart failure, leaving an estate estimated at $87.7 million (£48 million). The exact value is difficult to calculate because of the erratic prices for 20th century art and the widespread existence of forgeries, many of which may have sprung from his errant former personal assistant.

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