Faking Art.

When your ready to decorate a fresh new wall in your home and you want to find a perfect piece of art to hang on that wall.  Your lucky enough to find a piece that you were told was an original but later find out your original was a copy of someone else’s work all along. How are you expected to hang up a piece of work that now you know is a lie?

Art forgery has been occurring for centuries, people would spend millions on works of art that they believed were originals but ended up being fakes. Here are 8 examples of some of the biggest forgeries in art history.

1. Han Van Meegeren vs. Johannes Vermeers


Han Van Meergeren’s desire was to be a respected artist in the art community. His six replications of Vermeers paintings sold collectively for 60 million dollars. He wasn’t found out until one of his pieces was found by the Nazis and he was tried for treason for not naming the art works original owner.


2. Elmyr de Hory


A true con artist, all the way up to his suicide 1976. Hungarian artist Elmyr de Hory sold 1000 forgeries of multiple famous artists. From Modigliani, to Degas, and Picasso, to Matisse. His forgery of monet’s pieces went sold for 20,000 when put up for auction.


3. John Myatt


British artist John Myatt was released just after year from when we he was captured by Scotland Yard back in 1995. Had some of the largest auction houses sell over 200 forgeries. His forgeries ranged from Matisse, Giocometti, Braque, Picasso, Giacometti, Le Corbusier, Monet, and Renoir. The amount he made from these forgeries is estimated to be $165,000.


4. Tatiana Khan


Not only can artists make a living off of their forgeries but, so can art dealers. LA art gallery owner, Tatiana Khan, was informed by a friend that Picasso’s “La Femme Au Chapeau Bleu” had been stolen and if she paid him $1000 he would recreate it. Tatiana then sold the fake to a collector for $2 million dollars. Tatiana was then sued for selling the fake Picasso.


5. The Greenhalgh Family Forgeries


Sean Greenhalgh and his mother and father recreated famous works of art for almost two decades. The family recreated pieces from LS Lowry, Barbara Hepworth, and Paul Gauguin’s works. Their biggest sale was of a fake Egyptian sculpture, the Amarna Princess, for $440, 000 to the Bolton museum where experts said the sculpture dated back to 1350 B.C. The family would of made in total over $11 million with their forgeries.


6. eBay


Through the use of the popular site, scammers were tracked down and discovered that they had made millions selling fake replicas by Dali and Miró. In 2008, they charged two Americans, a Spaniard, and an Italian.


7. Steve Martin vs. Art Forgery Ring in Germany


Steve Martin was fooled into purchasing a fake Heinrich Campendonk back in 2004 by a rather large art forgery ring in Germany. Martin sold the painting 2 years later but not even close to the amount he had originally purchased the piece for. The large art ring has been estimated to have made $49 millions with their forgeries and has been Germany’s biggest art forgery scam to date.


8. German Scam Artist vs. Alberto Giacometti


Authorities arrested a man in Europe selling fake sculptures that he claimed to be original Alberto Giacometti sculptures. The scam artist sold over 200 of these replicas and sometimes he would sell these replicas from out of the trunk of his car. An original Giacometti has been auctioned off for a record breaking for $104 million. 


<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Are art reproductions “forgeries”? What about Roman copies of Greek antiquities? <a href=”https://twitter.com/ehatmat”>@ehatmat</a&gt; <a href=”https://t.co/AjrXqDmr8F”>https://t.co/AjrXqDmr8F</a&gt; <a href=”https://t.co/tUK3vwCEBm”>pic.twitter.com/tUK3vwCEBm</a></p>&mdash; The Easel (@easelnewsletter) <a href=”https://twitter.com/easelnewsletter/status/849960666681225216″>April 6, 2017</a></blockquote>



Art forgeries have always been the greatest con of the art world. And has technology and artists become more advanced in skill I don’t see it stopping anytime soon.




Credit: Business Insider. Eight Of The Biggest Art Forgeries Of All Time by Liz Weiss and Julie Zeveloff, (2011).   

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