Did you know that about half of all art in the market may be forged? Art forgeries are not only a nuisance but are becoming a big problem for buyers and sellers alike. Fakers come in all forms – from selling replicas from their cars to supplies fakes to high-end art galleries. Every year, new scandals about forgeries being sold come to light. Online sales do not help – In 2008, a group of professionals around the globe sold Dali, Picasso and Chagall fakes on ebay. Each fake was sold for $50,000 and the sellers also supplied copied certificates and signatures with each artwork.
Actor Steve Martin came under the spotlight for being involved in an art forgery. He found that the Heinrich Campendonk expressionist painting he had purchased in 2004 was a fake. He sold the painting about two years later. The total losses in this case were estimated to be about $49 million. The replica was put into the market by fakers in Germany and this is seen as one of the largest scam of its nature in Germany.
Another German was accused of art forgery and sale in 2009. The man sold about 200 fake statues forged from the artist Alberto Giacometti. Interestingly, he sold some of this art out of his car trunk, which makes you wonder at how easy it is to scam buyers.
Ironically, fake art is also highly valued. A notorious example is of Elmyr de Hory, who sold more than 1000 fakes and then committed suicide during an investigation. Today his replicas are highly priced and sold at San Francisco’s Terrain Gallery.