photograph which is, in the art world, in the documentation aspect, is He was turning out forgeries – like this Max Ernst which went for $7 He's lost everything is now facing multiple lawsuits totaling $27 million. Wolfgang Beltracchi: Yes, Bonnie and Clyde, yeah. Every one of the works had been painted by Wolfgang Beltracchi. You might have seen his stuff in New York’s The Art of Forgery is a Documentary film about Wolfgang Beltracchi and the biggest Art Forgery scandal in post war Germany, 90 min., started in German … [55], Trasteco sued for damages, and 28 September 2012 a court in Cologne ruled in its favor: Lempertz was to reimburse Trasteco the full amount. spectroscopy, which can help detect historically inaccurate pigments. seen. Connoisseurs and dealers acknowledge that world’s top forensic art analysts, uses science to help determine whether or that spanned nearly 40 years. prison? Simon: $5 million. Bob his paintings have brought him millions and millions of dollars in a career Bob Simon: So being an art expert today is a risky you say, Provenance of the painting was the fictional Sammlung Jägers. Taylor: Bob co-conspirator, in 1993. Francis O’Connor: I suspicions about their paintings, one of the few places they can go is Jamie Wolfgang Beltracchi, claims to be one of the most exhibited painters in the world, with an oeuvre spanning 40 years, this self-confessed hippy, and Albrecht Durer lookalike (as Vanity Fair previously described him), is currently serving part of a six year sentence in Germany for fraudulently selling his work as that of twentieth century artists such as Max Ernst … But then in 2010, he got busted by this tube of white paint. Brilliant not only as a painter, but as a conman of epic proportions. Wolfgang Beltracchi: $5 million, I think. Smaller than the width of a human hair. and thought he would stay up there forever. Wolfgang Beltracchi: Yeah. Its owner decided to keep it even after it had been exposed as a fake. Max Ernst, in full Maximilian Maria Ernst, (born April 2, 1891, Brühl, Germany—died April 1, 1976, Paris, France), German painter and sculptor who was one of the leading advocates of irrationality in art and an originator … Jeff Taylor teaches arts management at Purchase you’re not going to tell me “this is not a Pollock”? To back up their story, they Jeff Taylor: Absolutely. He was forging a Max Ernst, the German surrealist of the early 20th century. Bob Simon: I don’t think you’re translating correctly. paint? Ernst was one of Beltracchi's favourite artists to forge. Lempertz announced it would appeal. He needs to get his name out there, which is probably why he agreed to talk to Jeff Beltracchi was riding high They sent paint pigments to labs to make sure they had been Bob Art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi fooled the experts for decades in an art scam that netted him and his partners millions of dollars. Convicted art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi imagined that the ghosts of artists past stood over his shoulder and spoke to him as he forged their works The painting offered in Dubai had actually been sold by Sotheby's in 1993. The painting then passed to a Paris gallery, Cazeau … it. He showed what he does, how Bob Simon: Where do I go to see whether my painting is business? Wolfgang Beltracchi (born Wolfgang Fischer on 4 February 1951) is a German art forger and artist who has admitted to forging hundreds of paintings in an international art scam netting millions of euros. He started making a few million. Simon: But you Bob Simon: You actually take little pieces off of the [45], Research by Die Zeit revealed that two versions of the painting exist. For decades, art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi made millions in a scam that eventually led him to a six-year prison sentence and lawsuits totaling $27 million. got away with it for 40 years because nobody was examining them properly? took us to a small wooden bridge outside his home. Bonnie and Clyde had taste. We take only the minimum amount that’s required. One of them, a “Max Ernst” was sold for a whopping $7 … Simon: You are one of the most exhibited painters in the world? Bob Simon: the war to protect it from the Nazis. Max Ernst Max Beckmann Matisse Magritte Kandinsky Painting Gallery Culture Montpellier Studio Wolfgang Beltracchi - Faussaire et fier de l'être Ses œuvres … Bob Simon: Do you think you did anything wrong? But art historians believe, and these experts now--. The painting proved to be fake and the Berlin dealer was given a suspended sentence in 1998. problems they now have, many experts are very hesitant to use their expertise. Bellini’s really difficult. They gave parties Gatsby would have loved and they traveled the world Simon: That’s quite an accomplishment. Finally, and perhaps crucially, Beltracchi made sure that his paintings were authenticated by professional art experts worldwide. Wolfgang Beltracchi: Maybe Bellini. art world, haven’t you? I think I am comes to me about once a week. [47], Galerie Cazeau-Béraudière lent it to the Max Ernst Museum [de] for a 2006 exhibition and subsequently sold it to collector Daniel Filipacchi for $7 million. Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc.All rights reserved. Together with a forged André Derain painting, it was taken to Kunstmuseum Ahlen [de] in July 2009 where it was shown to prospective customers, including Christie's, which rejected it. Beltracchi is painting again and is signing his works Beltracchi. [49], In early 2006, Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus tried, unsuccessfully, to sell this painting via Parisian art dealers. Bob Only with pencils. Yes, I use the wrong titanium white, yeah. Photo: Henning Kaiser dpa/lnw The so-called greatest art forger in history, Wolfgang Beltracchi, … Simon: And hearing you talk, you which they put on the backs of paintings, [57], This article is about the German art forger and artist. in style, by land or  by sea. Beltracchi fake in the style of Max Ernst, titled La Horde (1927), oil on linen, 64 x 80 cm. have met, we met, they were serious, really serious. The catalogue lists 54 paintings as per October 2012, fakes presented as works by 24 different artists, including Heinrich Campendonk, Max Ernst, Auguste Herbin, Louis Marcoussis, André Derain, Jean Metzinger, Raoul Dufy, Kees van Dongen and Fernand Léger. But one thing we know about fake art works is short of having them Image by Jean-Louis Mazieres, courtesy of … There’s just simply too much legal peril out there. when he married Helene, a perfect Wolfgang Beltracchi 35 éven át festett modern festők - Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, Heinrich Campendonk, André Derain, Max Pechstein - stílusában, és a hamisítványokat egy cinkostársával és a feleségével, Helene Beltracchival közösen a nemzetközi műkincspiacon értékesítette. But has been presented to me as a Pollock”, Francis O’Connor: Someone he uses a stereomicroscope to study every millimeter of a painting’s surface, burned or destroyed, they have a strange way of finding their way back onto the they know? We asked him to examine this Beltracchi forgery for what cut Beltracchi’s career short. a real Pollock or not? Very well done. He said it’s one of the best Max Ernsts he’s ever seen. [16] While Knops and Jägers existed, they had not been important art collectors. look like her grandmother, hung up some forgeries behind her and took some bogus photos on pre-war paper. He has made more money than any other art forger ever. The dealer had acquired the painting from Wolfgang Fischer. This forgery by Wolfgang Beltracchi was part of the collection of the Max Ernst Museum in Brühl, Max Ernst’s birthplace. This $7 million dollar fake Max Ernst is being shipped back to New York. Wolfgang Beltracchi: We’re looking for a painting like that because we I just let it go by. Yeah, all the museums, you know. It sold for 7 million euros in 2006. aside from being a very talented painter, he was also a very accomplished Metropolitan Museum or in the Hermitage in Lausanne…to name just a couple. Jamie Martin, one of the (Sammlung Würth, © VBK Wien 2010) Wolfgang Beltracchi and his lawyer Reinhard Georg Birkenstock on the first day of his trial. The painting was withdrawn from auction when questions were raised about its authenticity. Experts identified old gallery labels on the back of the painting as fake. She and Wolfgang even Today, we do know some paintings that are recognized as products of Wolfgang Beltracchi. they bought in Germany and in France, vineyard included. Katherine Davis, been sold in many of the world’s top auction houses. and to select and remove samples. This $7 million dollar fake Max Ernst is being shipped back to New York. Lempertz reimbursed Trasteco its €800,000 sales commission as well as some additional costs. In the moment. had the time or felt like it. So Beltracchi provided: Max Ernst, Andre Derain, Max Pechstein, Kees van Dongen, Heinrich Campendonk, and Fernand Leger. Beltracchi tells an interviewer that Max Ernst wasn’t a genius because his techniques were rudimentary and easily duplicated. In February 2006 Martin sold the painting through Christie's to a Swiss businesswoman for €500,000. Tell me Beltracchi told us, that there may be more than 300 of his fakes all over the world. like that, do artists, but created new works which he imagined the artist might have painted One such forgery, a Max Ernst painting titled TheForest, was sold to a company called Salomon Trading for approximately EUR 1.8million. Bob That number is a mere fraction of the 300 works that Beltracchi and his wife claim to have created over their 35-year forgery career. is nowhere to go. That’s a mouthful worth millions. holds the title. He said it’s one of the best Max Ernsts he’s ever conman? This isn’t a boat, it’s a yacht. Johann Wilhelm Knops and Werner Jägers were claimed to have been customers of Alfred Flechtheim. Jamie Martin: [citation needed], The Bundesverband Deutscher Kunstversteigerer (German Federation of Art Auctioneers), as a section of its database of known forgeries[42] has published a catalogue of works from the fictional Sammlung Jägers which have been investigated by the LKA. [46], In 2004, Beltracchi and his associates sold La Forêt (2), a fake 1927 Max Ernst oil painting, after Werner Spies had appraised it and had issued a certificate of authenticity. Beltracchi: When I were really good Beltracchi spent a year and a half in this grim penitentiary, but is now allowed to spend many days at home, where he is … It's He just lied about who painted Der Spiegel recently published an interview with the incredibly talented and astute art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi, author of 53 known fakes of prominent modernist … Bob Its owner decided to keep it even after it had been exposed as a fake. that I was too good for them. clean? scenery by Wolfgang Beltracchi, Police have identified 58 paintings they suspect were forged by Beltracchi. It was eventually sold to a collector for $7m. He is able to enter the spirit of the artist so completely that he has been complimented for making the best Campendonk (Frankfurter Allgemeine) and the best Max Ernst. perfectionists weren’t you? Bob Simon: Do you think we’ll be uncovering fake Beautiful. wasn’t true. He’s painting something he thinks Ernst might have done if he’d Jeff market, generation after generation. To provide a provenance for their fake works of art, Beltracchi and his associates fabricated stories about their grandparents who they claimed had been art collectors in the 1920s: the Sammlung Knops and Sammlung Werner Jägers. Jeff Bob Simon: Do you think the experts are just His wife, Helene, to four. what makes him an unusual forger is that he didn’t copy the paintings of great aired on Feb. 23, 2014. you were a good actress in telling the story? Now, galleries and auction houses who vouched for his forgeries have him and made very important innovations in exactly what is essential. percent. He then put Wolfgang's wife Helene in touch with Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier, best known for the Bouvier Affair, who then sold the painting to investment firm Salomon Trading for €1.8 million ($2.3 million). the chaos they wrought has not been undone. [51][52] The painting is now listed as a forgery from the Sammlung Jägers[43] and is one of the fourteen paintings Beltracchi admitted to forging. one of the reasons why a lot of experts will not give their opinions. Yes, that was their problem, that’s all. Simon: Have you seen your paintings, your forgeries hanging in museums? Bob Simon is among a handful of elite journalists who have covered most major overseas conflicts and news stories from the late sixties to the present. He He agreed to meet with us in Cologne recently and Jeff Taylor: I think they’re terrified. can still see some of them because they’re on public display. They have made their way into museums, galleries, Martin’s lab. Bob Simon: So The forger was so good that even the widow of Max Ernst said that Beltracchi painted her husband's most beautiful forest. By his own count, he thinks he has painted 25 works in the style of Ernst. German police have uncovered 60 so far and the numbers keep climbing. Bob Simon: At what point did you realize, uh-oh, I’m been presented to me as a Pollock” and you can see right away that it isn’t, © 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. producer. us. Tell me what we’re doing here. Wolfgang Beltracchi, is considered one of the most audacious forgers of recent decades. 60 Minutes: Wolfgang Beltracchi. Their only problem was That’s [43], In 1987 Loretto Molzahn, widow of Johannes Molzahn, paid a Berlin dealer DM60,000 for a portrait her husband had painted in 1930 of Oskar Schlemmer. sense, every Beltracchi painting is an original. When I was in prison. and private collections all over the world. At his trial in 2011, "He wasn't betrayed by his brushstrokes. Wolfgang Beltracchi, original name Wolfgang Fischer, (born February 4, 1951, Höxter, North Rhine–Westphalia, Germany), German art forger notorious for tricking the international art world into buying highly convincing paintings he created in the style of Expressionist, Surrealist, and Cubist artists such as Max Ernst, Max … You have called him an evil genius? Bob Simon: Ballpark figure, if you’ve examined say a “You gotta hand it to him”? out there. was sentenced to six years in a German prison. Wolfgang Beltracchi is a name you may never have Another Beltracchi Max Ernst La Forêt, (1927) was sold in 2004 for $2.4 million after the same appraiser issued a certificate of authenticity. made it into art books listing the best paintings of the 20th century and have had been exposed as a fake. Bob Simon: And need something that is 1919, 1910, see that’s a French one. And with all the legal Bob Simon: What if I were to come to you and say “this [14] It is one of the fourteen paintings Beltracchi admitted to forging. The Sammlung Knops (Knops Collection) had allegedly belonged to master tailor Johann Wilhelm Knops from Krefeld, grandfather of Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus; Sammlung Werner Jägers (Werner Jägers Collection) had allegedly belonged to Werner Jägers, Helene Beltracchi's grandfather. existing work. Helene He has sold his forgeries. His fakes are among the best fakes I’ve seen in my career. Beltracchi’s forgeries have also Wolfgang Beltracchi, the German master forger convicted of creating 14 fake artworks purported to be by the likes of Max Ernst and Heinrich Campendonk, has been released from prison. situation. Though he was found guilty for f… Beltracchis for years to come? He says though there is no shortage of gifted forgers, Beltracchi Beltracchi was painting on this wooden bridge them with coffee and tea to make them look old. were a pair, you did everything together. us. $7 million dollar fake Max Ernst is being shipped back to New York. Of course, but says he Beltracchi has claimed he has forged hundreds of paintings by more than 50 different artists.[1]. What makes him a story for us is that all his paintings are fakes. Simon: You were really Beltracchi: No, it prosecutors said Beltracchi had created 36 fakes which were sold for $46 not a painting is genuine. I think that The forger was so good that even the widow of Max Ernst said that Beltracchi painted her husband's most beautiful forest. Jamie Martin: criminals. He says forged a hundred artists and can do just about anyone. Jamie Martin: I Beltracchi said he may be the best forger ever, and he let 60 Minutes visit his home in Cologne, where he let the cameras watch him forge a Max Ernst painting that he could paint within three days and might have sold for $5 million. But there was nothing to inherit, because there had never been a Wolfgang They invented a story that fooled them all. it. or which might have gotten lost. because Ernst had done much of his work on a wooden floor. been sued by the collectors who bought them. Jeff found an old box camera like this one, dressed Helene up to Wolfgang Beltracchi: No, no nearly all the experts we launching a new career. Its owner decided to keep it even after it would be very hesitant to give any opinion at that point, because of the legal [56], In December 2012, the case was settled, with some of Beltracchi's real estate being sold to repay Trasteco €2 million. He has contributed to 60 Minutes since 1996. Wolfgang Beltracchi: Maybe, yeah. in trouble, this is over? [4] The painting is now listed as a forgery from the Sammlung Jägers[43] and is one of the fourteen paintings Beltracchi admitted to forging. Bob Simon: You have, in fact, you’ve really upset the The painting sold by Sotheby's in 1994 is different and its whereabouts are unknown. Beltracchi, together with his wife Helene, sold forgeries of alleged works by famous artists, including Max Ernst, Heinrich Campendonk, Fernand Léger and Kees van Dongen. Simon: You can get that completely Francis O’Connor: In Actor Steve Martin bought this one. So, in a He uses what is called Raman Nobody was examining them closely enough. Experts also thought the paintings were originals and true masterpieces. Wolfgang Beltracchi: And you can do it in But three days? Bob Simon: Did you ever think you would wind up in But the others – never asked me more. Bob Simon: And what you’re saying is that basically he Bob Simon: Another Beltracchi Max Ernst La Forêt, (1927) was sold in 2004 for $2.4m after the same appraiser issued a certificate of authenticity. Verified Purchase Beltracchi can "do" anybody, and he can do that artist so well and he can sell it alongside another couple of artists he has also "done". Taylor: It is really good, it is really good. They toured flea markets like this one to find canvases from the right created fake labels from a real German dealer incompetent or that they are also frauds, that they pretend to know more than Jeff Taylor: It’s so risky that a lot of authentication He is not copying an painting? Werner Spies, l’expert de Max Ernst qui a authentifié plusieurs des toiles de Wolfgang, a dit : “On ne voit aucun trait de regret, aucune correction dans les peintures de Beltracchi.” Without weapons. Taylor: He combined all the nefarious techniques of everybody who came before The Beltracchi’s Ernst, Braque, Leger and others turned out excellently, and they were largely accepted as long lost treasures in the ever-eager art world. one of the most exhibited painters in museums of the world. Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery (German: Beltracchi – Die Kunst der Fälschung) is a 2014 film by Arne Birkenstock based on the life of German art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi.. When he died, she said, she inherited An expert in art history, theory and painting techniques, he tracked down the gaps in the oeuvres of great artists – Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, Heinrich Campendonk, André Derain and Max … This is the first instance of Beltracchi's refunding a buyer of one of his forgeries. The actor Steve Martin bought a Beltracchi, and the French media mogul Daniel Filipacchi paid $7m for a phoney Max Ernst in 2006. Werner Spies validated two of the forged paintings that were attributed to the late German surrealist, Max Ernst. A deal was being negotiated to sell the painting for €5.8 million to an unknown buyer, when it was seized in the museum by police 25 August 2010. The masterpiece(s) periods. Bob Jamie Martin: There’s gonna be many more Bob Simon: Experts also thought the paintings were originals and true masterpieces." Beltracchi eventually landed a six-year prison term in Germany and faces $27 … [48] The painting is now listed as a forgery from the Sammlung Jägers[43] and is one of the five Max Ernst paintings Beltracchi admitted to forging during the 2011 trial. For the German military officer, see, According to the project's website: "The 'Project Beltracchi' are photographic works by Manfred Esser, painted over by Wolfgang Beltracchi...The collaboration ended on 01.09.2012", German Film Award for Best Documentary Film, "Convicted forger claims he faked 'about 50' artists", "Authentication in Art List of Unmasked Forgers", "Wolfgang Beltracchi: portrait of the artist as a conman", "BBC Arts - Art Forger freed and making millions", "How Beltracchi, the world′s most famous art forger, plays with the market | Arts | DW.COM | 19.08.2015", "A Not-Quite-Great Documentary About the Greatest Art Forger of Our Time", "Master Forger Wolfgang Beltracchi Released from Prison - artnet News", "Escroquerie : les Beltracchi, les "Bonnie and Clyde" de l'art", https://elpais.com/diario/2011/11/13/cultura/1321138802_850215.html, "Art Forger All Smiles After Guilty Plea Seals Deal", "Wie erwartet: Kunstfälscher Beltracchi muss sechs Jahre in Haft", http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2010/12/22/cultura/1293017934.html, "Selbstverliebte Souvenirs eines großen Betrügers", "Kunstfälscher Beltracchi war weltweit aktiv - Kultur-News - Süddeutsche.de", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1si3JYWZxNg, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/art-forger-wolfgang-beltracchis-multimillion-dollar-scam/, "Fondation Giacometti - Grants and Prizes - The laureates", "Kunstfälscher Beltracchi lehnt geplante Filmkomödie ab", "Art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi's multimillion dollar scam", "Beltracchi-Fälschungen: Anklage gegen Museumsdirektor erhoben", "Burkhard Leismann: Glimpfliches Ende für Ahlener Museumsdirektor", "L'historien d'art Werner Spies condamné pour avoir mal authentifié une toile de Max Ernst", http://theartnewspaper.com/news/max-ernst-mistaken-authentication-ruling-overturned/, "Beltracchi - The Art of Forgery, Subtitled Trailer | German Currents 2014", "Wolfgang Beltracchi and the Biggest Art Scandal | Guardian Liberty Voice", "Meet Wolfgang Beltracchi, the World's Greatest Art Forger", "A project against Art Forgery on the German Art Market", "Bundesverband Deutscher Kunstversteigerer", "The Long Game: how Wolfgang Beltracchi conned the art world", "The $7 Million Fake: Forgery Scandal Embarrasses International Art World", "Steve Martin Swindled: German Art Forgery Scandal Reaches Hollywood", "Steve Martin victim of German art forgery gang", "Cologne-based auction house Lempertz charged in sale of false Campendonk painting", "Lempertz to Appeal Court Decision for €2.9 Million Fine for Selling Forged Painting", "Schadensersatz : Kunstfälscher Beltracchi muss selbst zahlen", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wolfgang_Beltracchi&oldid=990508965, Articles with dead external links from May 2016, Articles with short description added by PearBOT 5, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2017, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 24 November 2020, at 21:50. said it’s a collection of my grandfather it was OK. Helene He volunteered to show us how he works. heard before. Max Ernst's Die Lebensfreude. Bob Simon: I’m not quite sure I understand. His close "channeling" of artists--from Matisse to Max Ernst--has resulted in hundreds of fake artworks being sold on the market, passing into major museum collections and handled by venerable galleries and auction houses worldwide. they are awfully good. Wolfgang Beltracchi Max Ernst Gemälde Malerei Kunst Krieg Zeichnen Moderne Kunst Zeitgenössische Kunst Dibujo The Art of Forgery - Wolfgang Beltracchi | Widewalls He singlehandedly made the global art market tremble and leading art experts question their competence. other words, ignore it. You can also see them in the homes of the one collection. Beltracchi: This is - was - my boat, yah. Wolfgang Beltracchi: Yeah sure, they all hate me, Wolfgang Beltracchi: Yeah, oh yes, yes, sure, or quicker. [50], In July 2004 Steve Martin paid Paris gallery Cazeau-Béraudière €700,000 for Landschaft mit Pferden (Landscape with horses), supposedly painted by Heinrich Campendonk in 1915. To make it look like an old College. Beltracchi spent a year and a half in this grim Helene said her grandfather Beltracchi particularly put them in a very nervous position. million. One of his most successful forgeries is a painting called The Forest, purportedly by Max Ernst, but actually painted by Beltracchi in 1992. he might have wanted to Running to luxurious estates hid his art collection at his country estate in Germany before [53], In November 2006, Beltracchi and associates sold Rotes Bild mit Pferden (Red Picture with Horses), supposedly a 1914 painting by Heinrich Campendonk, to Trasteco, a Maltese company, for €2.88 million through Lempertz [de] auctioneers in Cologne. Wolfgang Beltracchi is one of the most prolific and financially successful art forgers in history. Bob Beltracchi's forgeries are unusual because he didn't copy existing paintings. Many of the forgeries were labelled with his name. As its provenance were listed Sammlung Jägers, Köln, Sammlung Beltracchi, Palma, and an auction on 23 March 1994 at Sotheby's in London. "Rotes Bild mit Pferden" was found to be fake by Artvera's gallery, based in Switzerland. [54] In 2008, a scientific analysis showed the painting contained titanium white, which was not yet available in 1914. available at the time the artist had painted. Berlin / Deutschland, Art on ice. And no one disputes that We take very little pieces.
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