A team working near Santa Fe, New Mexico, say that one of the pictures shows De Niro collecting two Oscars, although neither of them seems to relate to the Meet the Parents films, his most critically lauded offerings of the past 20 years.
Team leader Jared Douglas said: “Maybe they were for Rocky and Bullwinkle and Analyze That. It’s all so long ago – no records exist of this ancient time when De Niro was supposedly blessed with good judgement and self-respect.
“The paintings show a fascinating time when De Niro survived on his acting skills alone.”
But John Phelps, leader of a rival team working nearby, said: “We saw those paintings months ago and discounted them. De Niro was not gurning, shouting or doing a pratfall so we knew they could not be genuine.”
The paintings show De Niro doing quality work with world-class directors in the 1970s and 80s, which has led many to doubt their authenticity.
Commenting on a painting which shows De Niro “doing proper acting”, Douglas says that it might simply depict a moment when the actor may have become confused and wandered on to the wrong set while shooting a family comedy.
When asked about rumours that other paintings had been found that showed Richard “Notting Hill” Curtis had once been an outstanding comedy writer, Douglas replied: “No. That is just a very far-fetched rumour.”Tweet