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. Now, galleries and auction houses who vouched for his forgeries have Wolfgang Beltracchi: Yeah, yeah, completely clean, yeah. I just let it go by. Bob Simon: At what point did you realize, uh-oh, I’m got away with it for 40 years because nobody was examining them properly? Bob Simon: Do you think we’ll be uncovering fake Many of the forgeries were labelled with his name. problems they now have, many experts are very hesitant to use their expertise. staining "He wasn't betrayed by his brushstrokes. Beltracchi is the most successful art forger of our time -- perhaps of all time. You have called him an evil genius? Provenance of the painting was the fictional Sammlung Jägers. 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. If I come to you and I say, “Hey, this has 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. in style, by land or  by sea. penitentiary, but is now allowed to spend many days at home, where he is Bob Jeff One such forgery, a Max Ernst painting titled TheForest, was sold to a company called Salomon Trading for approximately EUR 1.8million. Very Beautiful. burned or destroyed, they have a strange way of finding their way back onto the Beltracchi told us, that there may be more than 300 of his fakes all over the world. They sent paint pigments to labs to make sure they had been had the time or felt like it. Bob Simon: And hearing you talk, you We take very little pieces. You can also see them in the homes of the one What makes him a story for us is that all his paintings are fakes. they are awfully good. Beltracchi was painting on this wooden bridge 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. [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. Beltracchi eventually landed a six-year prison term in Germany and faces $27 … Martin’s lab. would be very hesitant to give any opinion at that point, because of the legal Der Spiegel recently published an interview with the incredibly talented and astute art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi, author of 53 known fakes of prominent modernist … Now when you see something Smaller than the width of a human hair. When he died, she said, she inherited paint? Wolfgang Beltracchi: Yeah sure, they all hate me, like that, do I think I am [56], In December 2012, the case was settled, with some of Beltracchi's real estate being sold to repay Trasteco €2 million. producer. They toured flea markets like this one to find canvases from the right 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 … Bob Simon: Do you think you did anything wrong? Jamie Martin: world’s top forensic art analysts, uses science to help determine whether or 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.” Bob Beltracchi: When I Beltracchi spent a year and a half in this grim There’s just simply too much legal peril out there. Brilliant not only as a painter, but as a conman of epic proportions. (Sammlung Würth, © VBK Wien 2010) Wolfgang Beltracchi and his lawyer Reinhard Georg Birkenstock on the first day of his trial. To back up their story, they They invented a story that fooled them all. Bob This You might have seen his stuff in New York’s he might have wanted to Bob Simon: So being an art expert today is a risky She and Wolfgang even Bob When I was in prison. 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. Art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi fooled the experts for decades in an art scam that netted him and his partners millions of dollars. He’s painting something he thinks Ernst might have done if he’d Actor Steve Martin bought this one. co-conspirator, in 1993. There’s gonna be many more One of them, a “Max Ernst” was sold for a whopping $7 … you say, Archival photographs are sort of the El Dorado. Simon: Have you seen your paintings, your forgeries hanging in museums? 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. He uses what is called Raman 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.. 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. Image by Jean-Louis Mazieres, courtesy of … had been exposed as a fake. perfectionists weren’t you? The painting offered in Dubai had actually been sold by Sotheby's in 1993. three days? Beltracchi estimates he has done 25 Max Ernsts. Another Beltracchi Max Ernst La Forêt, (1927) was sold in 2004 for $2.4m after the same appraiser issued a certificate of authenticity. Wolfgang Beltracchi is a name you may never have “You gotta hand it to him”? When collectors do have $7 million dollar fake Max Ernst is being shipped back to New York. Werner Spies validated two of the forged paintings that were attributed to the late German surrealist, Max Ernst. Jamie Martin: I Simon: So you would be doing a Cezanne that Cezanne never painted but that you thought 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. 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 … painting? Beltracchis for years to come? is nowhere to go. The painting proved to be fake and the Berlin dealer was given a suspended sentence in 1998. Simon: You are one of the most exhibited painters in the world? Bob Taylor: It is really good, it is really good. 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". not a painting is genuine. been sold in many of the world’s top auction houses. He needs to get his name out there, which is probably why he agreed to talk to and to select and remove samples. Bob Simon: Do you think the experts are just And no one disputes that Beltracchi's forgeries are unusual because he didn't copy existing paintings. artists, but created new works which he imagined the artist might have painted By his own count, he thinks he has painted 25 works in the style of Ernst. This is the first instance of Beltracchi's refunding a buyer of one of his forgeries. Jamie Martin: you’re not going to tell me “this is not a Pollock”? Its owner decided to keep it even after it had been exposed as a fake. would say probably 98 percent are fake. out there. Jamie Martin: Every one of the works had been painted by Wolfgang Beltracchi. [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. and private collections all over the world. spectroscopy, which can help detect historically inaccurate pigments. Bob Simon: What if I were to come to you and say “this million. Bob Simon: I don’t think you’re translating correctly. [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. criminals. Bob market, generation after generation. Wolfgang Beltracchi: Maybe, yeah. 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 and was released in 2014. That’s He just lied about who painted million. And with all the legal His wife, Helene, to four. 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. This isn’t a boat, it’s a yacht. They have made their way into museums, galleries, The forger was so good that even the widow of Max Ernst said that Beltracchi painted her husband's most beautiful forest. In the moment. Running to luxurious estates look like her grandmother, hung up some forgeries behind her and took some bogus photos on pre-war paper. 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. He said it’s one of the best Max Ernsts he’s ever seen. One of his most successful forgeries is a painting called The Forest, purportedly by Max Ernst, but actually painted by Beltracchi in 1992. him and made very important innovations in exactly what is essential. Tell me what we’re doing here. them with coffee and tea to make them look old. We asked him to examine this Beltracchi forgery for Beltracchi: This is - was - my boat, yah. was forging a Max Ernst, the German surrealist of the early 20th century. It sold for 7 million euros in 2006. clean? © 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. other words, ignore it. Max Ernst Max Beckmann Matisse Magritte Kandinsky Painting Gallery Culture Montpellier Studio Wolfgang Beltracchi - Faussaire et fier de l'être Ses œuvres … Francis O’Connor: I art world, haven’t you? what makes him an unusual forger is that he didn’t copy the paintings of great golden. So, in a The forger was so good that even the widow of Max Ernst said that Beltracchi painted her husband's most beautiful forest. that spanned nearly 40 years. Johann Wilhelm Knops and Werner Jägers were claimed to have been customers of Alfred Flechtheim. In February 2006 Martin sold the painting through Christie's to a Swiss businesswoman for €500,000. He Another Beltracchi Max Ernst La Forêt, (1927) was sold in 2004 for $2.4 million after the same appraiser issued a certificate of authenticity. Bob Simon: So Wolfgang Beltracchi: Yeah, oh yes, yes, sure, or quicker. you were a good actress in telling the story? 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. 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. [54] In 2008, a scientific analysis showed the painting contained titanium white, which was not yet available in 1914. Yes, I use the wrong titanium white, yeah. his paintings have brought him millions and millions of dollars in a career available at the time the artist had painted. But The painting then passed to a Paris gallery, Cazeau … Yes, that was their problem, that’s all. He agreed to meet with us in Cologne recently and Bob Very few people have. Wolfgang Beltracchi is one of the most prolific and financially successful art forgers in history. [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. Max Ernst's Die Lebensfreude. Only with pencils. [14] It is one of the fourteen paintings Beltracchi admitted to forging. scenery by Wolfgang Beltracchi, Police have identified 58 paintings they suspect were forged by Beltracchi. As its provenance were listed Sammlung Jägers, Köln, Sammlung Beltracchi, Palma, and an auction on 23 March 1994 at Sotheby's in London. But art historians believe, and Bob Simon: You actually take little pieces off of the they know? it. photograph which is, in the art world, in the documentation aspect, is Their only problem was But He says though there is no shortage of gifted forgers, Beltracchi Beltracchi: No, it College. Of course, but says he Bob Lempertz reimbursed Trasteco its €800,000 sales commission as well as some additional costs. Without weapons. He claims to have forged around 300 works, including works in museums and private collections, by artists including Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, Heinrich Campendonk, and André Derain. 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 … Taylor: Absolutely one of the best. Metropolitan Museum or in the Hermitage in Lausanne…to name just a couple. Lempertz announced it would appeal. He said it’s one of the best Max Ernsts he’s ever Bellini’s really difficult. been presented to me as a Pollock” and you can see right away that it isn’t, Beltracchi’s forgeries have also situation. They gave parties Gatsby would have loved and they traveled the world incompetent or that they are also frauds, that they pretend to know more than boards have shut down. "Rotes Bild mit Pferden" was found to be fake by Artvera's gallery, based in Switzerland. He volunteered to show us how he works. took us to a small wooden bridge outside his home. He showed what he does, how Its owner decided to keep it even after it Though he was found guilty for f… these experts now--. percent. Jeff He started making a few Katherine Davis, He says forged a hundred artists and can do just about anyone. But then in 2010, he got busted by this tube of white paint. has been presented to me as a Pollock”, Francis O’Connor: Someone collection. they bought in Germany and in France, vineyard included. that I was too good for them. Simon: You were really Wolfgang Beltracchi: Yes, Bonnie and Clyde, yeah. The following script is from "The Con Artist" which he uses a stereomicroscope to study every millimeter of a painting’s surface, 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 were really good Wolfgang Beltracchi managed to deceive various collectors and art experts by making "newly discovered works" by famous artists, that were thought to be lost with no known reproductions to compare the fakes with. Beltracchi was riding high Taylor: The actor Steve Martin bought a Beltracchi, and the French media mogul Daniel Filipacchi paid $7m for a phoney Max Ernst in 2006. The masterpiece(s) Bob Simon: To make it look like an old 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. This $7 million dollar fake Max Ernst is being shipped back to New York. But the others – never asked me more. But one thing we know about fake art works is short of having them wasn’t true. [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. But there was nothing to inherit, because there had never been a [16] While Knops and Jägers existed, they had not been important art collectors. Beltracchi particularly put them in a very nervous position. or which might have gotten lost. Yeah, all the museums, you know. said it’s a collection of my grandfather it was OK. Helene Finally, and perhaps crucially, Beltracchi made sure that his paintings were authenticated by professional art experts worldwide. been sued by the collectors who bought them. Connoisseurs and dealers acknowledge that He's lost everything is now facing multiple lawsuits totaling $27 million. Experts identified old gallery labels on the back of the painting as fake. Beltracchi fake in the style of Max Ernst, titled La Horde (1927), oil on linen, 64 x 80 cm. The dealer had acquired the painting from Wolfgang Fischer. He was turning out forgeries – like this Max Ernst which went for $7 Jeff Taylor teaches arts management at Purchase periods. The painting sold by Sotheby's in 1994 is different and its whereabouts are unknown. Nobody was examining them closely enough. 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). 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 … Simon: But you Jeff Taylor: Absolutely. Simon: You can get that completely hundred paintings, how many of them are fakes? Beltracchi tells an interviewer that Max Ernst wasn’t a genius because his techniques were rudimentary and easily duplicated. The painting was withdrawn from auction when questions were raised about its authenticity. can still see some of them because they’re on public display. need something that is 1919, 1910, see that’s a French one. holds the title. Bob Simon: Ballpark figure, if you’ve examined say a Wolfgang Beltracchi: $5 million, I think. Bob Simon: This $7 million dollar fake Max Ernst is being shipped back to New York. 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. which they put on the backs of paintings, Francis O’Connor: In suspicions about their paintings, one of the few places they can go is Jamie That’s a mouthful worth millions. Wolfgang Beltracchi, is considered one of the most audacious forgers of recent decades. because Ernst had done much of his work on a wooden floor. hid his art collection at his country estate in Germany before in trouble, this is over? He has sold his forgeries. [1][44], In 2012, Bouquet varié (mixed bouquet), purportedly a 1937 painting by Moïse Kisling, was listed by French auctioneers Millon to be auctioned in Dubai on 22 October 2012, with an estimate of $150,000–200,000. created fake labels from a real German dealer one of the most exhibited painters in museums of the world. found an old box camera like this one, dressed Helene up to Jamie Martin, one of the German police have uncovered 60 so far and the numbers keep climbing. the chaos they wrought has not been undone. Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc.All rights reserved. when he married Helene, a perfect [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. Wolfgang Francis O’Connor: There And you can do it in seen. Simon: That’s quite an accomplishment. Bob Simon: You have, in fact, you’ve really upset the Bob Simon is the correspondent. Berlin / Deutschland, Art on ice. Ernst was one of Beltracchi's favourite artists to forge. The duping involved passing off his own work as recently surfaced paintings done by masters such as Picasso and Matisse, or someone such as the Dada movement pioneer Max Ernst. prosecutors said Beltracchi had created 36 fakes which were sold for $46 what cut Beltracchi’s career short. 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 … aside from being a very talented painter, he was also a very accomplished Jeff [57], This article is about the German art forger and artist. Tell me Bob Simon: Bob Simon: I’m not quite sure I understand. sense, every Beltracchi painting is an original. [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. prison? Simon: $5 million. was sentenced to six years in a German prison. bucks in the game when he was quite young, but his career really took off Wolfgang Beltracchi: Everything together, yes, yes. 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. So Beltracchi provided: Max Ernst, Andre Derain, Max Pechstein, Kees van Dongen, Heinrich Campendonk, and Fernand Leger. Wolfgang Beltracchi: Maybe Bellini. Its owner decided to keep it even after it had been exposed as a fake. us. He has contributed to 60 Minutes since 1996. Very well done. convincing. Helene said her grandfather 60 Minutes: Wolfgang Beltracchi. it. existing work. Wolfgang Beltracchi: were a pair, you did everything together. I think that Experts also thought the paintings were originals and true masterpieces. [49], In early 2006, Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus tried, unsuccessfully, to sell this painting via Parisian art dealers. [45], Research by Die Zeit revealed that two versions of the painting exist. and thought he would stay up there forever. [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. made it into art books listing the best paintings of the 20th century and have 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. Bonnie and Clyde had taste. [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. Photo: Henning Kaiser dpa/lnw The so-called greatest art forger in history, Wolfgang Beltracchi, … His fakes are among the best fakes I’ve seen in my career. what we’re looking for. one of the reasons why a lot of experts will not give their opinions. Bob Simon: And aired on Feb. 23, 2014. It was eventually sold to a collector for $7m. At his trial in 2011, Wolfgang Beltracchi: No, no nearly all the experts we This forgery by Wolfgang Beltracchi was part of the collection of the Max Ernst Museum in Brühl, Max Ernst’s birthplace. launching a new career. He is not copying an Wolfgang Beltracchi: Yeah. [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. Jeff Taylor: It’s so risky that a lot of authentication conman? Experts also thought the paintings were originals and true masterpieces."

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