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A total of 21 paintings that formed part of an exhibition on famed Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani were seized as part of an investigation into possible dubious authorship, exhibition organizers and police said Friday.

The Genoa prosecutors' office said it had launched an investigation into three people who were related to the organization of the exhibition at the historic port city's Doge's Palace, which was set to end on Sunday but was closed early after the police raid.

"Palazzo Ducale takes note of the initiative taken by the Prosecutor's Office of Genoa, to whom it has provided the highest level of cooperation," the exhibition space said in a statement, acknowledging that it had been compelled to close the gallery and that it had commissioned an organization called MondoMostre Skira to set up the exposition.

The Palace hence said it had not been directly responsible for the display and that the scandal had dealt a serious blow to its reputation.

The investigation was opened after Italian art critic Carlo Pepi visited the exhibition, which included more than 50 paintings and drawings by Modigliani, and claimed that very few of the works present had been created by the artist.

Following these accusations, curator Stefano Zuffi spoke to EFE and assured our correspondent that each and every one of the works had been carefully inspected by an art restorer before being exhibited, following established practices that met international standards regarding provenance.

Zuffi added that he believed the accusations were politically motivated.

The exhibition at the Doge's Palace opened March 16 and featured a collection of works that illustrated Modigliani's creative journey.

The palace's website said "Early Closure" in bold capitals across the page dedicated to the Modigliani presentation.