Prison Sentence for Leader of Giacometti Forgery Ring
April 16, 2011
Last year, a bronze made by Alberto Giacometti broke the world record price for sale at auction. It sold for $104.3 million. If that is the price of buying a Giacometti, then what is the cost of forging one?
A German art dealer has just been given a prison sentence of seven years for commercial fraud, falsification of documents and falsifying inscriptions on a set of statues purported to be by Giacometti. The dealer is the alleged “mastermind” behind the forgery ring which was busted in 2009 after German police discovered over 1,000 bronzes and plasters that were made to look like the work of Giacometti. An indictment was filed against the dealer and four other members of the ring in August 2010 in Stuttgart District Court. False certificates of authenticity were created for the statues, and one member posed as a Count and wrote fake historical texts that he presented to collectors as provenance. An expert panel at trial determined that the sculptures were not authentic, and it is unclear how many are still out there on the market.