Photos taken of Whiteley fakes: court

A man who shared office space with an art restorer accused of faking Brett Whitley paintings to sell for millions took photographs of the works being created, the Victorian Supreme Court has heard.

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Book binder Guy Morel took eight photographs that captured the painting known as Blue Lavender Bay at various stages of completion in October 2007 in a locked storage area of a studio in Easey Street, Collingwood, prosecutor Susan Borg said.

The court heard the photos also depict a palette of paint that matches the painting.

Art conservator and restorer Mohamed Aman Siddique and art dealer Peter Stanley Gant are on trial after they pleaded not guilty to charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception and attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception.

They are accused of using their expertise in the art world to create three paintings that they sold at an inflated price by passing them off as original works by Brett Whiteley.

The painting Blue Lavender Bay was bought for $2.5 million by Sydney Swans chairman Andrew Pridham, the court heard.

The paintings Orange Lavender Bay and Through the Window were also photographed as they were being created, Ms Borg said.

A defence barrister acting for Mr Gant said the photos depict the process of copies being made of original Whiteley paintings.

“It’s not illegal to copy paintings, it’s not even illegal to write Brett Whiteley on it,” the court heard.

“What happened at Easey Street and the sale of those paintings are completely separate stories,” Mr Gant’s barrister said in the trial that continues.