Not To Be Duped in
of Work by Famous Artists
They were copies of work by artists like Miró, Picasso, Tapies, Canogar, Chagall, Liechtenstein, Warhol and, of course the crown prince of art-fraud accomplices, Salvador Dalí.
Many of these fake etchings, lithographs and screen prints, some $12.5 million in sales, according to Spanish police inspector, Andres Sotero, were sold to unsuspecting tourists from two shops in Mallorca, as well as being distributed to the U.S., Germany, Italy and Japan. All of these falsifications were skilfully signed and numbered and accompanied by convincing-looking documentation, all false of course.
Leading Spanish art expert, Antonio Ruiz, has run art galleries on both sides of the Atlantic over the past 30 years. He likes to tell the story of the exhibit of the André Malraux collection in the Galerie Maeght in Paris in the sixties. Malraux was the French minister of culture at the time and wanted to include a Goya painting which he found in Bordeaux, the city where Goya spent his final exile. Maeght, well known as a dealer of impeccable integrity, considered the painting of dubious authenticity and did not permit Malraux to hang it in the exhibit, saying, "One single falsification could undo my life's work as a galeriste. I cannot even consider that possibility."
Art fraud is a fascinating subject which has given rise to a literature and a folklore all its own. The most-pirated artist of all time is certainly Salvador Dalí, in part because he was a knowing and active accomplice to many shady deals. Experts estimate that Dalí signed some 280,000 sheets of blank paper during his lucrative lifetime. So strenuous were his paper-signing activities, with secretaries on both sides furiously placing and retiring the blank sheets, that his signature deteriorated so much that art experts have serious problems authenticating his signature today.
For readers interested in knowing more about the art-fake phenomenon (know your enemy!) we'll recommend a few websites on the subject.
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