According to legend, Modigliani, as a very young man in Livorno, tried his hand at sculpture, but having been told by his friends that his works were no good, in a fury threw them into a canal. In 1984 the curator of the local museum of contemporary art announced that she would have the canals of the city dragged in the hope of discovering the lost carvings. To her delight, over a period of a couple of weeks three carved heads, with female features in the style of Modigliani, emerged from the water. They were examined by scientists, who stated that they must have been submerged for at least fifty years, and identified, or so they claimed, the type of chisels that had been used to make them.
Although there were a few dissenting voices, notably that of the late Federico Zeri, who was obsessed by forgeries, most of the leading Italian art historians of the day, including some with no particular competence in twentieth-century art, hailed the heads as major new works by Modigliani. But then three local teenagers claimed that they had made one of the heads. They were not believed until they produced a photograph of themselves holding it, and then made a second head on television, using the tools they claimed to have used for the first head: a chisel, a screwdriver, and a Black and Decker drill.
„The Art of the Phony”