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Art Fraud, Art Forgery & Art Crimes

By Alexander Mouret

Introduction

The best of art crime.

Alexander Mouret — Director at Leiden International Film Festival / Partner at Karloff / Director of Public Relations ...

1 Why So Many Art Forgers Want to Get Caught

Entertainment History shows there's glory and money to be had from ripping off the works of great artists. Pedro Belleza/Flickr If you were a criminal, enjoying the lucrative fruits of your illicit labors and wishing to continue them, in secret, for as long as possible, I would recommend against buying an enormous submarine, showcasing it at a public marina and

2 Art swindlers selling fake Goya get paid in photocopied bills

Two brothers from Girona who planned on swindling an Arab sheik into buying a forged Goya painting found out they were the ones who had been swindled when the 1.7 million Swiss francs they had received in payment turned out to be all in photocopied bills. Spain's National Police found out about the transaction in December 2014 when customs authorities

3 London Museum Plants Fake in Its Collection

Next month, The Dulwich Picture Gallery, a London museum known for its collection of works by Old Masters, will launch an interesting experiment: the gallery will hang a forged painting alongside its 270 authentic holdings, challenging gallery-goers to find the fake. The Gallery paid a mere £120 (~$181) for the reproduction, which it commissioned from a Chinese studio known for

4 Spain Arrests Three Alleged Art Forgers

Three suspected members of an art forgery ring were arrested in the Spanish cities of Zaragoza and Tarragona, reported. Accused of peddling drawings falsely attributed to Miró, Picasso, and Matisse, they've been charged with crimes against intellectual property and fraud. The police first caught whiff of their dealings in July 2014, during a routine check on the border of Spain

6 Burglars waltz out of Madrid art gallery with 70 paintings

Three men managed to break into a Madrid art gallery last week, and walked out with 70 paintings worth an estimated €600,000. The thieves entered Galería Puerta de Alcalá in the early hours of Thursday by first breaking into the adjacent premises, a former bar that has been closed since last year. They then punched a hole through the wall

7 /top10/most-wanted-stolen-artworks

The Art Loss Register has long been the market leaders in tracking down stolen art. This independent company has compiled the definitive list of missing masterpieces, as well as predicting which locations are most vulnerable. They recently named Britain as the top spot in the world for rich pickings. Artlyst has compiled our latest curated Top Ten with our 'Most

8 Art Historian Spots Lost Avant-Garde Painting in Background of Kids Movie

Just as the mouse may be an "unexpected" artistic muse, so a Hollywood kids' movie about a talking mouse is an unexpected place to find a missing painting from the Hungarian modernist avant-garde. But that is what happened with "Sleeping Lady with Black Vase," a 1927-28 artwork by Hungarian painter Róbert Berény: an art historian watching the movie Stuart Little

10 Art: Imitable

THE sale of more than 200 drawings on October 22nd by a small auction house near Salisbury in south-west England has threatened to open old wounds in the art world. The works were by Eric Hebborn, a master forger. Few have heard of Hebborn, but many museum-goers may have seen his handiwork, masquerading as old masters at major galleries around

12 Criminals Love Weapons, Drugs, and ... Art

Art theft is the third-highest grossing criminal trade in the world over the past 40 years, preceded only by drugs and weapons. This claim comes from a smart, extensive Newsweek article covering a three-day conference held at New York University Law School last month called " Art Crime and Cultural Heritage: Fakes, Forgeries, and Looted and Stolen Art." The conference

13 What Happens When an Artist's Own Work Is Stolen

In the "Selected Collections" of his resume, Irvine, California artist Jeffrey Frisch lists a variety of private buyers of his work and one "Anonymous Thief," referring to the person who stole one of his sculptures from an exhibition. That's putting a good face on the fact that the $500 artwork was uninsured, so all that remains for him is a

14 Long-Lost Van Gogh Painting Found

MADRID, May 10 (Reuters) - Spanish tax inspectors checking the contents of a safe deposit box discovered a painting believed to be by Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh that went missing almost 40 years ago, a tax office source said on Saturday. Confirming a report by Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the source said the painting was entitled "Cypress, Sky and

15 Thieves seize three outdoor sculptures, shown in Art on Henderson

Thievery of fine art is nothing new. One of the more infamous heists involved the 1990 theft of The Concert, a masterpiece by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, taken from a Boston museum. The most spectacular heist of a painting may still be Leonardo da Vinci's The Mona Lisa, seized from the Louvre in 1911 and then returned two years later.

16 Hollywood's Secret Art Forgery Operation

Artists and artwork often make for compelling movie fodder, but getting the rights to reproduce famous paintings can be a real challenge for filmmakers, reports Vanity Fair. A small but strictly-regulated cottage industry of legal art forgery has sprung up on the sets of films by Julian Schnabel, George Clooney, and Ed Harris, among others. Including artwork in movies has

17 ARCAblog: Why Steal a Rembrandt if They are so Difficult to Sell?

By Lynda Albertson, ARCA's CEO French Police from the Criminal Brigade of the Judicial Police Nice and the central office of Cultural Property (OCBC) happily announced the recovery of the painting "Child with a Soap Bubble" attributed to Rembrandt yesterday. While everyone knows that Rembrandt van Rijn was the master of the dramatic contrast of light and dark known as

19 Germany to set up center to comb its museums for Nazi-looted art

BERLIN-Germany will set up an independent center to comb museum collections for art looted by the Nazis, the country's culture minister said, shortly before representatives for the son of an art dealer tied to Hitler disclosed another hidden cache of paintings. The discovery of more unrecorded treasures, including paintings by Impressionist masters Monet, Renoir and Manet, was likely to add

Added by Alexander Mouret: “Art experts are warning about the rise of a new trend which seen buyers lured into thinking they are snapping up a bargain by a great artist

20 Art experts warn of the rise of the 'trappers'

The trick is that they are not sold with any concrete claim as to their provenance. Rather, trapper dealers ensnare victims, by suggesting the works might be genuine, when in fact they know this to be false. Commonly, they concoct elaborate stories to convince the buyer, claiming the work came from a friend or relative of the famous artist concerned,

22 How the French Hid the Louvre's Masterpieces During WWII

Beginning in 1938, the threat of war prompted a large-scale evacuation of France's public art collections. The storage sites chosen for works of art were châteaux, tranquil locations in the heart of the French countryside, far from strategic targets, and thus escaping the imminent danger of bombing. On August 28, 1939, the Mona Lisa left the Louvre and on September

23 10 Top Art Mysteries of the Last Year to Ponder in the Next

One of the most daring heists of the last decade (and the biggest art theft to hit the Netherlands in recent years), the 2012 late-night robbery of Rotterdam's Kunsthal gallery garnered many headlines since, most recently when ringleaders Radu Dogaru and Eugen Daire were sentenced to six years and eight months in prison in November. (The three remaining suspects are

26 Hitler's Hunt for the Holy Grail and the Ghent Altarpiece

On the night of 10 April 1934, one of the twelve oak panels that comprise Jan van Eyck's famous painting, Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, was stolen from Saint Bavo Cathedral, in Ghent, Belgium. Often referred to as "The Ghent Altarpiece," this monumental oil painting is arguably the single most influential painting ever made. It is also the most-frequently stolen,

27 Art Historians Say Chinese Work Sold by Sotheby's Is a Fake

SHANGHAI - The work "Gong Fu Tie" was billed as a masterpiece of Chinese calligraphy created a thousand years ago, a scroll dominated by just nine characters, set with fluid brush strokes by the Song Dynasty poet Su Shi. Sotheby's put the work up for auction in New York last September, expecting it to fetch up to $500,000. After fierce

28 The Ghent Altarpiece: the truth about the most stolen artwork of all time

Just about everything bad that could happen to a painting has happened to Hubert and Jan van Eyck's Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (also known as the Ghent Altarpiece). It's almost been destroyed in a fire, was nearly burned by rioting Calvinists, it's been forged, pillaged, dismembered, censored, stolen by Napoleon, hunted in the first world war, sold by a

29 How a 16th Century library was looted

Book-lovers around the world have been helping investigators trace thousands of rare volumes looted from one of Italy's oldest libraries by a gang of thieves including the librarian himself. While most have been recovered, a number of invaluable 15th and 16th Century books are still missing. Inside a 16th Century church complex in the heart of Naples, the Biblioteca Girolamini's

30 Unsolved Art Heists: The Missing Paintings of Vincent van Gogh

An estimated 5 billion dollars' worth of art and antiquities are stolen each year. 1 Naturally, well-known artists top the lists of most valuable paintings ever stolen- The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669) and The Concert by Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, 1632-1675) taken from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in March 1990,

31 The Incredible Rise and Fall of High-Flying Art Scammers Helene and Wolfgang Beltracchi

Nobody in Freiburg could remember a party quite like it. The date was September 22, 2007, and Wolfgang and Helene Beltracchi, affluent newcomers to this lively university town near Germany's Black Forest, had invited friends and neighbors to celebrate a milestone. Workers had just put the finishing touches on their $7 million villa, after 19 months of extensive renovations. Lanterns

33 Damien Hirst Spot Paintings Taken in Gallery Robbery

Two of Damien Hirst's renowned "spot paintings" have been stolen from a commercial gallery in west London. They were taken in the early hours of Monday morning. The two works are Pyronin Y (2005) and Oleoylsarcosine (2008), and are worth £15,000 and £18,000 respectively. Scotland Yard has said that only one person carried out the robbery. It is thought that

35 Fakers, Fakes, & Fake Fakers

Many years ago, I interviewed a forger named David Stein. He had been arrested for faking hundreds of drawings, gouaches, and watercolors by Matisse, Chagall, Picasso, Cézanne, Degas, Miró, and many others. One day, while he was out on bail, I asked him how an art forger creates works by well-known artists whose styles are so different. "The first thing

36 What Is the Value of Stolen Art?

Making money from stolen paintings - particularly famous ones - is not a straightforward matter, and those who try to do so fall broadly into two categories. The first, most common type is the naïf, who steals a painting but has laid few plans beyond the theft itself. He soon discovers that the painting's notoriety has rendered it toxic, and

37 Did the Nazis steal the Mona Lisa?

With the recent discovery in Munich of €1bn (£860m) worth of art looted by the Nazis, and the forthcoming release of a feature film, starring George Clooney, based on the exploits of the Monuments Men, it is a fitting time to recall how fortunate we are that so much art survived the second world war. The Nazi art theft division,

38 Missing billion-pound art collection seized by the Nazis discovered

More than 1,500 paintings found including pieces by Picasso and Matisse Collector Hildebrandt Gurlitt ordered for them to be destroyed in 1945 But in a routine search on a train from Switzerland to Germany, his son was caught with 9,000 euros cash earned from an illicit art deal Officials searched his small rented apartment in Munich and found the art

39 The New York Review of Books

After Andy Warhol died in February 1987, his will directed that a foundation should be set up in his name, funded with proceeds from the sale of some 95,000 pictures, prints, sculptures, drawings, and photographs left in his estate. Warhol's bequest made no provision for the authentication of his artwork. But in 1994 the foundation initiated work on a multivolume

40 What We Can Learn From Art Forger, John Myatt | Karen Longden-Sarron Art on WordPress.com

Brilliant British artist, John Myatt, spent four months in prison for forging the masters' works. It's estimated that he sold 200 forgeries and London's Scotland Yard announced that his crime "was the biggest art fraud of the 20th Century." He has the incredible ability of mimicking other artists' styles; a talent he learnt whilst attending art school, and what started

41 With Rules Murky, Fake Artworks Stay on the Market

As soon as Richard Grant, executive director of the Diebenkorn Foundation, glimpsed the three drawings in an Upper East Side apartment several years ago, he knew there was a problem. The artwork on the wall had been previously identified by the artist's estate as fake Richard Diebenkorns. But here they were again, proudly displayed as Diebenkorns by a new owner

42 Hundreds Of Masterpieces Stolen From Picasso Step Daughter's Collection

Catherine Hutin-Blay the step-daughter of Pablo Picasso by his second wife Jacqueline has revealed that up to 407 works by the artist have been stolen from her private collection. Drawings, signed prints and catalogues by the artist are included in the missing inventory. The French newspaper Le Parisien, stated that Hutin-Blay's thefts were first discovered in 2011, when the Paris

43 Romanian's Tale Has Art World Fearing the Worst

PARIS - To Olga Dogaru, a lifelong resident of the tiny Romanian village of Carcaliu, the strangely beautiful artworks her son had brought home in a suitcase four months earlier had become a curse. No matter, she said, that the works - seven in all - were signed by Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Gauguin, Lucian Freud and Meyer de Haan. Her

44 Art Thief's Mother Burns Stolen Loot, Compounds Crime Horribly

Having fielded a whole bunch of interview requests, from Slate to Time Magazine, looking for comments regarding the recent news about the loot from the Kunsthal theft, I thought I would post a short statement, despite being officially offline while teaching my annual course in Rome. In case anyone missed it, an arrest was made of a Romanian thief who

45 Who Decides What's a Fake? | Artinfo

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office have officially deemed a group of artworks - supplied by Long Island dealer Glafira Rosales and sold by the now defunct Knoedler Gallery to various clients - as fakes. Rosales, who was arrested in May and charged with wire fraud and money laundering, is being held in a Manhattan jail without bail. Last

Added by Alexander Mouret: “A multi-million art collection that includes 18 Goyas, 12 El Grecos, 4 Velázquez, 4 Rembrandts, as well as a few Botticellis and Rafaels, has gone missing.

46 Scandal in Barcelona

Scandal in Barcelona A multi-million art collection that includes 26 Fortunys, 18 Goyas, 12 El Grecos, 4 Velázquez, 4 Rembrandts, as well as a few Botticellis and Rafaels has gone missing after a Spanish court ordered the daughters of its deceased industrialist owner to honor his bequest to the city of Barcelona.

47 ARCAblog: Museum van Bommel van Dam Theft: Arthur Brand on recovering paintings and how one stolen painting reached Sotheby's in London

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor Last night art investigator Arthur Brand sent me a link to the story in Dutch News.nl ('Sotheby's London sold stolen Dutch art despite warnings') charging that Sotheby's in London had sold a painting stolen in March from the Museum van Bommel van Dam. DutchNews.nl quotes NRC, another Dutch media agency, on the story

48 Struggling Immigrant Artist Tied to $80 Million New York Fraud

Pei-Shen Qian's neighbors on 95th Street in Woodhaven, Queens, knew he scratched out a living as an artist: he often dried his paintings in the sun, propping them up on the weathered white siding of his modest house. They were less clear on why he kept his windows covered, or why every so often a man in an expensive car

49 The Art of the Phony

The existence of a market for any kind of valuable object almost always encourages the production of counterfeits. It happens with drugs, banknotes, and designer handbags. It also happens with works of art. But whereas counterfeiting banknotes or other documents has always been considered a crime, attitudes toward art forgery have changed greatly over time. This article is available to

Added by Alexander Mouret: “Fakes say some interesting things about the economics of art

50 The emperor's new pictures

WHAT makes an artist great? Brilliant composition, no doubt. Superb draughtsmanship, certainly. Originality of subject or of concept, sometimes. But surely true greatness means that the creator of a painting has brought a certain je ne sais quoi to the work as well. There is, however, a type of person who seems to sait perfectly well what that quoi is,

51 $27 Million Picasso Seized in Corsica - artnet News

An early painting by Pablo Picasso declared a Spanish national treasure and barred from leaving Spain has been seized by French authorities from a boat docked in Corsica, El Mundo reports. Picasso's Head of a Young Woman (1906), worth around €25 million ($27 Million) is the property of the banker Jaime Botín, brother of the late banker and philanthropist Emilo

52 25 Years After Gardner Museum Heist, Video Raises Questions

BOSTON - In 1990, Richard Abath was a 23-year-old self-described hippie and guitarist for a rock band named Ukiah who, while moonlighting as a security guard, allowed two thieves posing as police officers to enter the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum here. For 25 years, his decision to buzz in the men who carted away $500 million worth of art has

53 How to spot a fake: Art forgery’s secrets revealed - Salon.com

If the world thinks a work is authentic, then it is authentic-and here are the many ways art hoaxes can workCan you tell if someone's lying? There are scientifically proven traits that most people exhibit when they're cooking up a lie. Sweaty palms. Dry throat. Tight collar. Fidgety movements. Right-handed people tend to look up and to the left when

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