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Man admits multi-million euro art forgery

The Local · 28 Sep 2011, 09:45

Published: 28 Sep 2011 09:45 GMT+02:00

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Wolfgang B. is one of four people accused of taking part in the massive fraud, which netted them more than €20 million. A judge has told them they will receive no more than six years in prison if they fully testify about the scam.

“I painted the pictures alone,” he told the court in Cologne Tuesday, where the suspects are being tried. “It really was a lot of fun back then.”

The scam involved forging at least 47 works by famous avant-garde artists like Max Pechstein and Heinrich Campendonk, then swindling art houses and experts who believed the paintings were legitimate.

After Wolfgang B. created the art, his co-conspirators sold them, the court heard.

The 60-year-old said his life of forgery began in his teens when he helped his father create copies of Rembrandts and Picassos. In the 1970s, he continued making copies, but painted his own art too.

It’s not yet clear when the ring began scamming collectors, but Wolfgang B. said money was not his main motivation. Instead, he emphasized, he like playing on the greediness of experts, collectors and auction houses.

"I didn't much like the art market or the dealers," he said. "I really enjoyed doing it. You have to know how the art market functions and where the greediness is greatest."

The group's biggest sale was a fake Campendonk that went for more than €3 million.

Story continues below…

DPA/The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

03:36 September 30, 2011 by volvoman9
As a once aspiring artist I can understand the disillusionment with the art world. It is populated with the marginally talented who resent true ability and seek to impose their will on an unsuspecting and naive public.It must have been exhilarating to expose these merchants for the frauds they generally are.... still it is a crime.
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