Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's Boom Times For Art Forgers

This is a month old but is part of a major, major trend.
From the Guardian:
Multimillion-pound international art forgery ring busted, say German police
Two arrested from gang of six that allegedly produced 400 fakes attributed to Russian avant-garde artists such as Kandinsky
Kazimir Malevich - Supremus
Kazimir Malevich - Supremus Photograph: Fredrik Von Erichsen/AP
German authorities have smashed a multimillion-pound ring of art forgers who specialised in paintings by avant-garde Russian artists including Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich and Natalia Goncharova.

Around 100 officers from the federal police (BKA) raided a string of houses, businesses, warehouses and art galleries across the country on Wednesday and Thursday. Two suspects, aged 67 and 41, who are believed to head a group of six involved in the ring, were arrested in raids in Wiesbaden, where more than 1,000 objects were seized.

Searches were also conducted in Switzerland and Israel, with the results still pending, according to the BKA.
The forgers are believed to have sold more than 400 pieces of counterfeit art painted in the style of artists such as Kandinsky and Malevich. The suspects are alleged to also have forged authenticity certificates to give the impression the paintings were previously unknown works.

The paintings were sold for four-to-seven figure euro sums, according to police. Two forged paintings were allegedly sold between 2011 and 2013 for €2m (£1.7m) in total to buyers in Germany and Spain....MORE
That's actually peanuts compared to the guy profiled in "Heinrich Campendonk in the News: 'German Art Forgery Scandal Reaches Hollywood'" and "The Greatest Fake-Art Scam in History?"

Wolfgang Beltracchi was arrested for and convicted of painting and selling forgeries by 14 artists.
He's since said he actually copied over 50 artists and there may be a half-billion dollars worth of the stuff hanging on walls around the world.
Some of those taken in by the forgeries:
  • Lempertz Auction House, Cologne
  • Drooner Institut, Munich
  • Musee d'Art Moderne, Paris
  • Christie's, New York
  • Max Ernst Museum, Bruhl
  • Biennale des Antiquaires, Paris
  • Sotheby's, New York
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The guy was so prolific that the Federal Association of German Art Publishers had to put together a freakin' catalog of the known pieces:

Visual List of Known Forgeries from the "Jägers Collection"/Ermittelte Werke der sog. Sammlung "Jägers"".



Ganz faule Tiere: Das „Rote Bild mit Pferden“, bei Lempertz 2006