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Thursday, November 17, 2011

SYMPATHY GROWS FOR ALLEGED FORGERS


Sympathy grows for alleged forgers
Media has painted four defendants in fake art trial in a positive light

By Julia Michalska. From Market, Issue 229, November 2011
Published online: 03 November 2011

Cologne. The four protagonists in Germany’s biggest art forgery scandal were sentenced a total 15 years in prison on 27 October following charges of forgery and corruption in a Cologne court. The group duped leading art world figures into buying forgeries from the fictitious “Werner Jägers” and “Wilhelm Knops” collections by artists including Max Ernst, André Derain and Fernand Léger. Ringleader Wolfgang Beltracchi, his wife Helene, her sister, Jeanette, as well as Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus, all confessed to their involvement in creating and selling 14 forgeries, which earned them an estimated €16m over the past decade. Beltracchi was given a six year sentence, his wife a four-year term, her sister—named as Jeanette S—a 21-month suspended sentence; and their associate, Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus, a five-year term.

German auction house Lempertz, Max Ernst expert Werner Spies and art dealer Jacques de la Béraudiere are facing civil lawsuits and compensation claims from their clients. Beltracchi’s forgeries continue to be uncovered—most recently a painting in Hannover’s Sprengel Museum, Katze in Berglandschaft, said to be by Heinrich Campendonk.

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