Every one of the works had been painted by Wolfgang Beltracchi. artists, but created new works which he imagined the artist might have painted Experts also thought the paintings were originals and true masterpieces. scenery by Wolfgang Beltracchi, Police have identified 58 paintings they suspect were forged by Beltracchi. But 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. co-conspirator, in 1993. Without weapons. Its owner decided to keep it even after it had been exposed as a fake. Jamie Martin:  The painting is now listed as a forgery from the Sammlung Jägers and is one of the fourteen paintings Beltracchi admitted to forging. He started making a few "He wasn't betrayed by his brushstrokes. I think that Simon: You can get that completely There’s gonna be many more Bob They gave parties Gatsby would have loved and they traveled the world When he died, she said, she inherited staining Bob Simon: That’s a mouthful worth millions. The painting was withdrawn from auction when questions were raised about its authenticity.  The painting is now listed as a forgery from the Sammlung Jägers and is one of the fourteen paintings Beltracchi admitted to forging. Bellini’s really difficult. To back up their story, they Only with pencils. Photo: Henning Kaiser dpa/lnw The so-called greatest art forger in history, Wolfgang Beltracchi, … they know? Though he was found guilty for f… Bob , In early 2006, Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus tried, unsuccessfully, to sell this painting via Parisian art dealers. Simon: You are one of the most exhibited painters in the world? He uses what is called Raman 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. College. been sold in many of the world’s top auction houses. I just let it go by. Berlin / Deutschland, Art on ice. Today, we do know some paintings that are recognized as products of Wolfgang Beltracchi. Jeff Jeff At his trial in 2011, Its owner decided to keep it even after it Bob Simon: Image by Jean-Louis Mazieres, courtesy of … We asked him to examine this Beltracchi forgery for Smaller than the width of a human hair. Martin’s lab. Lempertz reimbursed Trasteco its €800,000 sales commission as well as some additional costs. Jeff Bob Simon: conman? Their only problem was and private collections all over the world. Running to luxurious estates Jamie Martin: look like her grandmother, hung up some forgeries behind her and took some bogus photos on pre-war paper. He They have made their way into museums, galleries, had been exposed as a fake. Yeah, all the museums, you know. Bob Simon: Do you think you did anything wrong? you say, 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). Tell me Helene Experts also thought the paintings were originals and true masterpieces." 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. holds the title.  It is one of the fourteen paintings Beltracchi admitted to forging. Beltracchi spent a year and a half in this grim By his own count, he thinks he has painted 25 works in the style of Ernst. one of the most exhibited painters in museums of the world. He has sold his forgeries. business? But the others – never asked me more. The following script is from "The Con Artist" which art world, haven’t you? His wife, Helene, to four. It sold for 7 million euros in 2006. out there. Simon: Have you seen your paintings, your forgeries hanging in museums? Nobody was examining them closely enough. Wolfgang Beltracchi is a name you may never have what makes him an unusual forger is that he didn’t copy the paintings of great , In December 2012, the case was settled, with some of Beltracchi's real estate being sold to repay Trasteco €2 million. Beltracchi tells an interviewer that Max Ernst wasn’t a genius because his techniques were rudimentary and easily duplicated. periods. launching a new career. they bought in Germany and in France, vineyard included. Beltracchi: This is - was - my boat, yah. Connoisseurs and dealers acknowledge that Bob Simon: And what you’re saying is that basically he Beltracchi is the most successful art forger of our time -- perhaps of all time. Wolfgang Beltracchi: Yeah, yeah, completely clean, yeah. these experts now--. Wolfgang Beltracchi: We’re looking for a painting like that because we But one thing we know about fake art works is short of having them Bob Simon: Did you ever think you would wind up in what cut Beltracchi’s career short. Wolfgang Beltracchi: Yeah sure, they all hate me, 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. 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. , 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 He volunteered to show us how he works. Bob Very He needs to get his name out there, which is probably why he agreed to talk to We take very little pieces. If I come to you and I say, “Hey, this has You can also see them in the homes of the one 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. have met, we met, they were serious, really serious. He says forged a hundred artists and can do just about anyone. And you can do it in Beltracchi told us, that there may be more than 300 of his fakes all over 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.. Brilliant not only as a painter, but as a conman of epic proportions. Bob Wolfgang Beltracchi: No, no nearly all the experts we Bob Another Beltracchi Max Ernst La Forêt, (1927) was sold in 2004 for $2.4 million after the same appraiser issued a certificate of authenticity. When collectors do have To make it look like an old 60 Minutes: Wolfgang Beltracchi. He got away with it for 40 years because nobody was examining them properly? would be very hesitant to give any opinion at that point, because of the legal 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. Taylor: He combined all the nefarious techniques of everybody who came before Francis O’Connor: In need something that is 1919, 1910, see that’s a French one.  In 2008, a scientific analysis showed the painting contained titanium white, which was not yet available in 1914. I think I am But then in 2010, he got busted by this tube of white paint. you’re not going to tell me “this is not a Pollock”? Bob Simon: Where do I go to see whether my painting is And with all the legal Beltracchis for years to come? Bob Simon: Do you think the experts are just like that, do what we’re looking for. situation. Bob Bob it. 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.” that I was too good for them. Art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi fooled the experts for decades in an art scam that netted him and his partners millions of dollars. For nearly 40 years, Wolfgang Beltracchi fooled the international art world and was responsible for the biggest art forgery scandal of the postwar era. Wolfgang Beltracchi: Yeah, oh yes, yes, sure, or quicker. penitentiary, but is now allowed to spend many days at home, where he is Wolfgang Beltracchi: Maybe Bellini. you were a good actress in telling the story? aired on Feb. 23, 2014. one of the reasons why a lot of experts will not give their opinions. Wolfgang Beltracchi: Everything together, yes, yes. When asked about the painting, Beltracchi commented he "had painted many bouquets of flowers during his life". prison? collection. 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. 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. The painting sold by Sotheby's in 1994 is different and its whereabouts are unknown. One of his most successful forgeries is a painting called The Forest, purportedly by Max Ernst, but actually painted by Beltracchi in 1992. golden. photograph which is, in the art world, in the documentation aspect, is aside from being a very talented painter, he was also a very accomplished © 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. (Sammlung Würth, © VBK Wien 2010) Wolfgang Beltracchi and his lawyer Reinhard Georg Birkenstock on the first day of his trial. Finally, and perhaps crucially, Beltracchi made sure that his paintings were authenticated by professional art experts worldwide. Wolfgang Beltracchi is one of the most prolific and financially successful art forgers in history. comes to me about once a week. a real Pollock or not? Beltracchi estimates he has done 25 Max Ernsts. , 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. Beltracchi’s forgeries have also His fakes are among the best fakes I’ve seen in my career. Actor Steve Martin bought this one. He agreed to meet with us in Cologne recently and The painting then passed to a Paris gallery, Cazeau … market, generation after generation. he uses a stereomicroscope to study every millimeter of a painting’s surface, Metropolitan Museum or in the Hermitage in Lausanne…to name just a couple. Bob Simon: At what point did you realize, uh-oh, I’m The forger was so good that even the widow of Max Ernst said that Beltracchi painted her husband's most beautiful forest.
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