News Articles Library Event Photos Contact Search

Displaying items by tag: Scandal

In a forgery scandal that shook the art world, the now-shuttered Knoedler Gallery and its former director Ann Freedman will have to go to trial in two cases involving the sale of fake Abstract Expressionist paintings, Manhattan’s federal court ruled on Wednesday, 30 September.  

In his three-page order, Judge Gardephe denied the gallery’s and Freedman’s motions for summary judgment in the lawsuits brought by the New York collector John Howard and Sotheby’s chairman Domenico De Sole and his wife, Eleanore.

Published in News

Private equity titan Leon Black and his wife Debra, a Broadway producer, melanoma survivor and leading force behind the Melanoma Research Alliance, are buying 19 E. 70th St., the former Knoedler & Company art gallery, which shuttered following a major art fraud scandal in 2009 that is still under investigation.

London developer Christian Candy bought the 30-foot-wide, 17,000-square-foot, 104-year-old Italian Renaissance-style townhouse for $35 million in 2013.

Published in News
Thursday, 13 June 2013 12:01

Police Bust International Forgery Ring

German police arrested two people and raided 28 locations in an effort to halt a multi-million dollar international forgery ring responsible for selling fake paintings they claimed were by Russian avant-garde artists including Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). Apartments, business premises, and art galleries in Wiesbaden, Mainz, Suttgart, Munich, and Hamburg were searched by police officers. Over 1,000 items were seized including supposed forgeries and sales documents. Additional searches were carried out in Switzerland and Israel.

The forgers are believed to have sold over 400 works ranging in price from $1,332 to over $1 million since 2005, accruing more than $2.7 million. The two men who were arrested are believed to be the leaders of an international group of six counterfeiters. Private collectors in Germany and Spain acquired most of the fakes sold by the forgery ring.

Confidence in the German art market has been unstable since it was shaken by the largest forgery scandal to date in 2011. Art forger Wolfang Betrachhi was sentences to six years in jail after admitting to painting copies of works by Fernard Leger (1881-1955) and Max Ernst (1891-1976) and then selling them as masterpieces to unwitting collectors.  

Published in News

Glafira Rosales, a 56-year-old Long Island-based art dealer has been arrested in connection to the scandal surrounding the disgraced Manhattan gallery, Knoedler & Company. One of many suits stemming from the ongoing Knoedler drama, federal authorities charged Rosales with tax fraud following the discovery that a collection of Modernist masterpieces, which sold for millions of dollars were actually forgeries.

Prosecutors claim that Rosales never disclosed the $12.5 million she made off of the sale. It was also discovered that she maintained a bank account in Spain where she had stashed much of her earnings from the transaction. If convicted on all counts, Rosales faces as many as 34 years in prison but based on federal sentencing guidelines, will most likely receive much less.

Rosales began selling forged works through the offices of Knoedler & Company in the mid-1990s. The works were new to the market and they were said to have come from an unnamed collector based in Zurich and Mexico City. Knoedler accepted the works and proceeded to sell them, bringing millions of dollars in revenue. After multiple experts claimed that Knoedler was selling fakes, the F.B.I. launched an official investigation. Knoedler closed in 2011 after 165 years in business. The company, which had been New York’s oldest gallery, found itself at the center of 6 lawsuits filed by clients who had purchased Rosales’ works.

While tax evasion charges have been leveled against her, Rosales still has not been charged with knowingly selling counterfeit artworks.

Published in News

A Cologne court made a “scandalous” decision by allowing dozens of counterfeit artworks to remain undetected and in circulation during the trial of four art forgers, the BVDG association of German galleries said.

The gang of four, who made at least 10 million euros ($14 million) by selling oil paintings they falsely attributed to famous artists including Max Ernst and Andre Derain, were on Oct. 27 sentenced to a total of 15 years by the Cologne Landgericht, or regional court. Art historians, museums and auction houses were duped by the forgers.

Before the judgment, the defense agreed to confessions in return for milder sentences. The court agreed to focus on just 14 forgeries, dropping investigations into at least 40 more suspected fakes because of statutes of limitations. More than 100 witnesses were never heard.

The court “gave up any attempt at full disclosure in favor of a quick trial,” the Berlin-based BVDG, which represents 350 galleries, said in a statement sent today by e-mail. The trial outcome “missed the chance to shed light on the backgrounds and location of dozens more forgeries.”

Wolfgang Beltracchi, 60, was sentenced to six years in jail after he confessed to painting 14 works that he sold as masterpieces by Ernst, Max Pechstein, Heinrich Campendonk, Derain, Fernand Leger and Kees van Dongen.

His wife, Helene Beltracchi, got a four-year term; her sister, named by the court as Jeanette S., was handed a 21-month suspended sentence; and a fourth associate, Otto Schulte- Kellinghaus, was given five years.

Missed Opportunity

The result of the trial, and the missed opportunity to clear up the case in full, is “at least as scandalous as its subject,” the BVDG statement said.

Stuttgart art dealer Klaus Gerrit Friese, the group’s president, said in a phone interview that the collectors who bought the artworks may not even know they are forgeries. Those in the art world who know are now under no pressure to disclose the fakes, he said.

“A cloak of silence has now fallen over this whole case,” he said. “We won’t get any more information.”

During the trial the presiding judge, Wilhelm Kremer, said it was not the responsibility of the court to try to uncover each forgery. He said that in reaching the agreement with the defense, the court had avoided a lengthy, costly trial.

Published in News
Tagged under