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Displaying items by tag: forgeries

Monday, 16 September 2013 18:53

Art Dealer Pleads Guilty in Major Forgery Case

Glafira Rosales, the Long Island-based art dealer accused of selling fake artworks to the acclaimed galleries Knoedler & Co. and Julian Weissman Fine Art, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. During her 15-year scheme, Rosales admitted to selling counterfeit works that mimicked the styles of modern masters including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko as well as swindling unsuspecting customers out of over $80 million.

When Rosales brought the forgeries, which were painted by a Queens-based artist in his home studio, to Knoedler and Weissman, she claimed that they were never-before-exhibited and previously unknown works of art. She admitted to arranging for funds from the sales to be funneled to banks in Spain and failed to claim a large portion of the income on her tax returns.

Rosales pleaded guilty to nine charges including wire fraud, tax fraud and money laundering. While the charges carry a potential sentence of up to 99 years, Rosales could be handed a lighter sentence if she cooperates with authorities and shares what she knows with prosecutors, the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service. Rosales’ sentencing has been set for March 18, 2013 but will likely be delayed.

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Friday, 13 September 2013 17:08

Former Knoedler President Files Defamation Suit

Ann Freedman, former president of the disgraced gallery Knoedler & Co., filed a defamation suit on Wednesday, September 11 in New York State Supreme Court. Freedman helmed the historic gallery until it closed in 2011 amidst charges that it had sold forged artworks worth nearly $80 million.

In her case, Freedman declared that she did due diligence in researching a collection that was presented to her and listed nearly 20 experts, including curators from the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, that told her that the works were authentic. However, in many of these cases, the comments were unofficial and decidedly vague.

Freedman’s case is aimed at Manhattan art dealer Marco Grassi who was quoted in a New York magazine as saying “A gallery person has an absolute responsibility to do due diligence, and I don’t think she did it. The story of the paintings is so totally kooky. I mean, really. It was a great story and she just said, ‘this is great.’”

Long Island-based art dealer Glafira Rosales and her boyfriend are allegedly responsible for selling the 60 forgeries to Knoedler & Co. The couple claimed that the works were authentic masterpieces by artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko. It was recently discovered that they were painted by an artist in his home studio in Queens.  

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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.  

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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
Monday, 25 February 2013 13:27

Disgraced Knoedler Gallery Hit with New Lawsuit

Prominent Canadian art collector David Mirvish filed a lawsuit on Friday, February 22, 2013 against the disgraced New York-based art gallery, Knoedler & Company. Since closing its doors in late 2011, Knoedler & Company has been accused by multiple clients of selling forged paintings, which were acquired by the gallery from Long Island dealer Glafira Rosales. Mirvish’s is the fifth lawsuit against Knoedler since 2011.

However, Mirvish’s claim is slightly different than its predecessors. While the other lawsuits accused Knoedler of passing off fake Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), and Mark Rothko (1903-1970) paintings as the real deal, Mirvish claims that the works he purchased from the gallery were authentic. Instead, Mirvish is arguing that he lost out on millions of dollars in profits when Knoedler failed to sell three Jackson Pollock masterpieces he purchased jointly with the gallery.

Between 2002 and 2007 Mirvish purchased two paintings attributed to Pollock and bough a half stake in a third for $1.6 million. The sole purpose of Mirvish’s dealings with Knoedler was to resell the works for a profit. One of the Pollock paintings sold to collector and hedge fund manager Pierre Lagrange for $17 million in 2007, but in 2011, the day before Knoedler shut down, Lagrange announced that he would be filing a lawsuit against the gallery as forensic testing suggested the painting was a fake. The Lagrange suit was eventually settled but Mirvish was not involved and refused to return the money he made off of the deal.

Mirvish is now seeking reparations for the two unsold Pollocks, claiming that Knoedler breached its agreement when the gallery suddenly went out of business. Mirvish is asking Knoedler to return the two paintings, referred to as “Greenish Pollock” and “Square Pollock,” as well as reimburse him for his $1.6 million stake in the third painting, referred to as “Silver Pollock.” Even though Mirvish only paid Knoedler $3.25 million, half of “Greenish Pollock” and “Square Pollock’s” purchase prices, he claims that Knoedler’s violation of contract entitles him to both paintings.

Nicholas Gravante, the lawyer of Knoedler’s former president, Ann Freeman, is representing Mirvish. Freeman is not named as a defendant in Mirvish’s case and she has maintained that all works acquired from Rosales are genuine. Rosales is currently under investigation by the F.B.I.    

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Following a two-year investigation conducted by the Italian art forgery unit, Christian Parisot, president of Rome’s Modigliani Institute, has been arrested. Police seized 18 works from Parisot including prints, bronzes, and a painting attributed to the Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920); the counterfeit works are said to be worth almost $8.7 million. The unit also apprehended forged certificates of authenticity from Parisot.

Parisot has worked with the Modigliani family for years and even served as secretary to Jeanne Modigliani, the artist’s daughter. Laura Nechtschein Modigliani, Jeanne’s daughter and the only living descendant of the artist, currently holds the rights over her grandfather’s works.

Modigliani’s oeuvre has proved problematic through the years; due to his consistent and distinctive style, Modigliani’s works are often subject to forgery. There are at least five catalogue raisonnés of the artist’s work and Parisot was in the process of compiling his own prior to his arrest.

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