Suspended sentences for Giacometti forgery ring
Stuttgart/Paris – Three forgers who attempted to sell fake works pretending they were by the late Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti were each given suspended jail terms of two years Thursday by a court in Stuttgart.
The case was dubbed the biggest art fraud in European history by Art News magazine, measured by the potential financial gains had the scam been successful.
Giacometti (1901 – 1966) sculpted human shapes in bronze in a distinctive, stick-figure style that made his work not only instantly recognizable, but easy to fake. In 2009, German police seized 1,000 works – none of which are mentioned in the sculptor’s diaries.
The convictions by a court in Stuttgart were the first in the long-running case. All three admitted being involved in the fraudulent trade.
A woman teacher and a retired auctioneer, 69, were convicted of organized fraud and forgery. The auctioneer’s nephew was convicted as an accessory on the charges.
Two others, who were allegedly the main forgers, are to go on trial in June.
One of them, an art dealer, has already received a three-year jail term for fraud for selling fake Giacomettis and will next be charged over another series of sales said to have netted 9 million euros (12 million dollars).
Meanwhile, the Giacometti Foundation in Paris announced a 10,000 euro prize to reward work highlighting the problem of art forgeries.
Giacometti is one of the most frequently faked of modern masters.
‘The problem of art forgeries is far less undestood than forgeries of branded products. We want to change that,’ Veronique Wiesinger, head of the foundation, told a press conference in Paris.
Suspended sentences for Giacometti forgery ring – Monsters and Critics.