Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Life Imitating Art in Story About Man Imitating Art ?

Thought GDC readers might enjoy this from the NY Times:

Art Gallery Owner Pleads Guilty in Forgery Found by Coincidence
December 14th, 2004

The demise of a lucrative 15-year business in forgeries of paintings by modern masters came when both Sotheby's and Christie's offered the same painting of a vase of lilacs by Gauguin for their auctions in May 2000.

Federal agents discovered that Sotheby's had the real one, and Christie's had a remarkable, but not perfect, fake.

Ely Sakhai, the owner of a Lower Manhattan gallery, Exclusive Art, pleaded guilty yesterday in Federal District Court in Manhattan to fraud charges in the forgery operation. The government charged that Mr. Sakhai had purchased genuine but lesser-known works of Gauguin, like the lilacs, and other Impressionist and modern artists, then ordered copies made by skilled forgers working from the originals...

Under instructions from the two men, prosecutors said, forgers copied in close detail the markings on the back of the canvases, and made the frames appear to be decades old. The art dealers also issued fake "certificates of authenticity" for the forgeries...


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