A fraudster tried to sell a fake version of a Lucian Freud work “worth millions” on eBay for just £3,000.
Vincent Dyer attempted to sell a counterfeit portrait of artist Francis Bacon.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said he had “deliberately aimed to mislead the public into believing he was selling a famed 1952 original” – which was stolen in 1988.
Dyer, of Greenford, west London, was given a four-month suspended jail term.
He was previously convicted of three counts of fraud after a trial at Isleworth Crown Court.
Bacon and German-British artist Freud were close friends and each created several pieces of work depicting the other.
The original 5in by 7in painting (12.7cm by 17.8cm) belonged to the Tate but was stolen from an art gallery in Berlin in 1988.
It has never been recovered, and the CPS said the piece was worth “millions of pounds”.
In the eBay advert Dyer wrote: “In very good condition. Has been kept in secure storage for many years.”
He also claimed the painting had been a gift to his father from Freud himself, but the copy had in fact been bought by Dyer in 2012.
Marie Olo, from the CPS, said: “Vincent Dyer dishonestly tried to sell a replica of a well-known Lucian Freud painting to make a gain for himself.
“He claimed the false advert had only ever been a ‘sales pitch’ to attract interest, but the prosecution was able to prove that he had deliberately aimed to mislead the public into believing he was selling a famed 1952 original.”
Dyer was also ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work.