Annual sale of Israeli and Jewish art yields $3.4 million; Yaakov Agam painting sold for $698,000
A few months ago, three Italians met with a wealthy art loving businessman in Milano Italy and offered him the chance to purchase an unknown painting by Kandinsky called ‘K19’ which was supposedly painted in 1919. Kandinsky is one of the 20th century’s (1866-1944) most famed Russian painters. His paintings include ‘The Blue Rider’ and ‘Composition 8’.
The businessman was excited about the painting and even agreed to pay €3 million ($4.09 million) for it. But his growing fears that the painting was a forgery led him to approach the authorities.
The Milano police department launched an investigation during which they discovered that the painting wasn’t a forgery of an existing Kandinsky, rather a painting he had never created.
Milano police believe that the gang members ordered the painting in 2008 from an Israeli artist of Russian origin who created the work of art in the style of Kandinsky’s work. So far, three Italians and three Germans have been arrested over the affair. Milano police suspect that in addition to the man responsible for the forgery, two additional Israelis are involved in the con.
The investigation revealed that this is the work of a sophisticated gang: After the fake work of art was completed, it was displayed in a Moscow museum without the museum’s management noticing that they had a forgery in their midst.
It was then exhibited in a German gallery where the gang had another trick up their sleeve: They purchased the painting from the gallery and only then did they approach the Italian businessman.
Apparently the Israeli forger is more than just a con-artist: It took art experts in Paris three months to be convinced that the painting was in fact, a forgery.