There are many amazing things about the story of Wolfgang Beltracchi, the convicted art forger who was released from prison early this year after serving two-thirds of a six-year sentence.
First is his undeniable skill and ingenuity, which are quietly celebrated in Arne Birkenstock’s fascinating documentary Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery.
The second is just how long he kept up the charade: 40 years! In four decades, Beltracchi and his wife, Helene, unloaded over 300 paintings, earning millions as they pulled the wool over the attentive eyes of the art world.
Which brings us to the third and most intriguing point: how eager everyone was to go along with the game. It’s a topic Birkenstock circles around in his not quite objective but thoroughly entertaining film. (The director’s father served as a lawyer for the Beltracchis.)