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'I've waited patiently for this day,' she wrote in a blog post on the Hobart museum's website, before confessing and revealing her reasons for the ruse.

Kirsha Kaechele Cops to Forging Mona Ladies Lounge Picassos

Kirsha Kaechele painting a faux Picasso for Mona's Ladies Lounge. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Jesse Hunniford.

Artist Kirsha Kaechele, wife of Mona founder David Walsh, has admitted to forging Pablo Picasso paintings previously displayed in the museum's Ladies Lounge, along with other deliberate misrepresentations.

On the museum's blog, Kaechele wrote, 'I made the artworks, quite painstakingly, with my own hands.'

She said she also enlisted her manicurist's niece to fake etchings by the artist.

Additionally, she presented newly made spears from New Guinea as antiques acquired by her grandfather, plastic jewellery as 'precious', and a polyester rug as mink, 'made by Princess Mary's royal furrier'.

The jig, at last, is up.

'Allow me to explain—I have no choice but to explain,' she wrote. 'From stage right a journalist beckons—she's onto me! And from stage left, a letter has arrived—from the Picasso Administration. 'Would you be so kind as to explain...?'

Mona's Ladies Lounge. Photo: Jesse Hunniford.

Mona's Ladies Lounge. Photo: Jesse Hunniford.

Jarrod Rawlins, Director of Curatorial Affairs at Mona, first proposed a ladies-only lounge as a response to criticisms that most of the museum's artworks were created by men and there were too few areas to relax. Kaechele ran with the idea, opening the Ladies Lounge—with male butlers who served champagne to visitors surrounded by ostensibly 'invaluable' exhibits—in 2020.

She used the lounge and its exhibits to tell stories about a fictional version of herself 'intended to raise questions around gender, freedom, power structures, authenticity, and value.'

She wanted Picassos for the lounge, but didn't want the ones available to her.

'I knew of a number of Picasso paintings I could borrow from friends, but none of them were green, and I wished for the Lounge to be monochrome. I also had time working against me, not to mention the cost of insuring a Picasso—exorbitant!' she wrote.

(Real Picasso ceramics selected by Kaechele and acquired by Mona are on display in the exhibition Namedropping through 21 April 2025.)

In a surprise coincidence, a work she'd copied, one of around 40 Picasso paintings inspired by Edouard Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe, was showing at the Picasso museum in Paris when she visited four months later.

The Ladies Lounge remained open until April this year, when a Tasmanian tribunal ruled it discriminatory. Kaechele had her 'Picassos' moved to the museum's toilets, where gender discrimination is permitted.

Kaechele seemed to delight in the success of her deception, noting that the headline 'Picassos Displayed in Ladies Toilets' was translated into 160 languages. She quotes publications—including Traveller, BBC News, and New York Times—that repeated her untruths.

Mona's Ladies Lounge did feature genuine artworks, including Sidney Nolan's painting Leda and the Swan (1961), which depicts an act of deception—Zeus takes the form of a swan before raping the Spartan queen. —[O]

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