Dealer in Knoedler forgery scandal escapes jail time

The Long Island art dealer who sold fake Abstract Expressionist art to New York’s Knoedler Gallery has been handed a get-out-of-jail-free card by a Manhattan judge.

Glafira Rosales was indicted by the US Government in May 2013 on charges of conspiracy, tax fraud and wire fraud from the sale of up to US$60 million (£42 million) worth of fake art to the former Knoedler Gallery. On Tuesday (31 January), District Judge Katherine Polk Failla sentenced Rosales to nine months of home detention as part of a three year supervised release for her involvement in the scheme.  Continue reading

Sotheby’s sue over fake Parmigianino

Sotheby’s has filed a lawsuit in New York against the vendor of a 16th century Old Master painting after it was confirmed to be a fake.

In October last year, the auction house announced it would be conducting an investigation into the painting of ‘Saint Jerome’. Attributed to the ‘Circle of Parmigianino’, it was sold by Sotheby’s New York in January 2012 for US$800,000 (£509,650). Doubts over the work’s authenticity emerged after it was linked to an Old Master forgery scandal, which broke last year.  Continue reading

Sotheby’s declares war on art forgery

Sotheby’s auction house announced its acquisition of specialist art investigation firm Orion Analytical in a press release on Monday (5 December 2016).

Founded by James Martin in 2000, Orion Analytical began life as a niche firm offering materials analysis and consultancy. Over the years it has built a reputation for expertise in researching and investigating fake artworks. Now Sotheby’s is bringing this expertise in-house and has appointed Martin director of its newly created scientific research department. Continue reading

Forgery Scandal Update: Sotheby’s to investigate potential fake

In an update on the forgery scandal that has shocked the art world, Sotheby’s New York announced that it is investigating a painting attributed to 16th century Old Master Parmigianino as a potential fake.

The painting of Saint Jerome fetched over US$800,000 (£653,777) at auction at Sotheby’s New York in January 2008 when it was attributed to the ‘circle of Parmigianino’. When a private collector lent it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for exhibition in 2014, curators from the European painting department discussed the attribution with leading Parmigianino experts but could not agree on whether it was painted by the artist himself or those close to him. Continue reading

Art forgery scandal sending shockwaves through the art world

The discovery of an art forgery scandal to rival the infamous Knoedler ring of fake masterpieces is sending shockwaves through the art world.

In what is being described as “the biggest art scandal in a century” collectors are understood to have paid as much as £200 million for fake paintings believing them to be genuine masterpieces. According to a French investigation, up to 25 forgeries of Old Masters may be in circulation including copies of works by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Frans Hals, Orazio Gentileschi and others. Continue reading

Fake Hirst works circulating the art market

Auction houses and galleries are being urged to remain vigilant after it emerged that a number of counterfeit Damien Hirst works are circulating the art market.

The Antiques Trade Gazette reported on Monday (1 February) that the Hirst fakes are being sold for up to £1500-4000 both privately and by at least a half dozen auction houses. The circulation of the works came to the attention of the Hirst Authentication Committee (HIAC) during one of its most recent authentication sessions. The committee, which is authorised by the artist to authenticate his works, is remaining tight-lipped about how to identify the forgeries for fear of inspiring copycat attempts. It is urging anyone with suspicions to contact it for advice and assistance.

Despite the HIAC’s reticence, one art dealer based in London who purchased three counterfeit acrylic works from Mallams Oxford has revealed how it might be possible to spot a fake. The forgeries are said to lack viable provenance details such as the White Cube gallery where Hirst first sold his works, and to be cheaply framed. The dealer purchased the fake works at auction in July 2015 for a total of £11,776. They were catalogued by Mallams as by ‘Damien Hirst (b. 1965)’ with estimates of £2000-3000. The works were signed on the verso and featured a stamp stating they were made in Hirst’s Gloucester studio.

Following the auction, the dealer submitted his purchases to the HIAC for authentication. As authentication sessions are only held around six times a year it was not until October that he learned they were fakes. Now he is struggling to obtain a refund from Mallams who referred him to their terms and conditions which limits the return period for deliberate forgeries to within 21 days of purchase. The dealer believes this is too short a time frame in which to be able to authenticate works through the HIAC and that Mallams failed to adequately complete due diligence on the works prior to auction. The dispute is ongoing.

Director of the HIAC, James Kelly, says the committee is contacting auction houses and galleries dealing in Hirst’s pieces to caution them and to offer assistance in verifying provenance.