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Wednesday, 05 February 2014 12:28

Fake Chagall Painting to be Burned

When British collector Martin Lang purchased ‘Nude 1909-10’ in 1992, he thought that he was acquiring an authentic painting attributed to Marc Chagall. However, after recently submitting the work to the Paris-based Chagall Committee for evaluation, Lang learned that the work is a forgery. In addition to the bad news, the Committee stated that the painting should be burned, citing French laws implemented to protect artists’ works. Lang is hoping that the Committee will reconsider their decision to destroy the painting, regardless of its authenticity.

The Chagall Committee is run by the Russian-French artist’s grandchildren with the intent of protecting the modernist master’s legacy. The destruction of counterfeit artworks is routine in France and an artist’s heirs have the right to destroy an object that is officially deemed a forgery under what is known as “the moral law of the artist.”

Lang purchased the watercolor for 100,000 pounds from a London-based art consultant. Although the work was not authenticated, it was said to be a Chagall from around 1909 to 1910.  

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Qiang Wang aka Jeffrey Wang pleaded guilty to smuggling artifacts made from rhinoceros horns from the United States to China. Wang, a 34-year-old antiques dealer based in New York City, was arrested in February 2013 as part of Operation Crash, a nationwide, multiagency crackdown on the illegal rhinoceros trade.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says Wang pleaded guilty to wildlife smuggling conspiracy on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 in New York. Bharara added that Wang used fake U.S. Customs documents to smuggle packages containing libation cups carved from rhinoceros horns into Hong Kong and China. Wang will be sentenced on October 25, 2013 and could spend up to five years in prison.

Over 90% of the wild rhinoceros population has been slaughtered illegally since the 1970s, mainly because of the price their horns can bring. U.S. and international laws currently protect endangered rhinos.

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David Hausman, a New York City antiques dealer, was sentenced to 6 months in prison for illegally purchasing rhinoceros horns. The federal court also hit Hausman with a $28,000 fine for breaking laws intended to protect endangered black rhinos.

Hausman was arrested and pleaded guilty in court last summer, admitting that he knew the horns needed to be more than 100 years old in order to be purchased legally. Hausman, whose arrest was part of a nationwide crackdown, had previously offered to help the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service fight the illegal sales of rhinoceros horn.

Rhinoceros horn carvings, which are believed to bring good luck and health, have left the world’s rhino population devastated.

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