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 Crime, Forgery, Kandinsky, Malevich, Jawlensky, Goncharova
Men Charged In Russian Avant-Garde Art Forgery Case - ArtLyst Article image

Men Charged In Russian Avant-Garde Art Forgery Case

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Detectives from the German Federal Criminal Police seized a trove of forged paintings; complete with forged provenance documents and receipts, as well as jewellery and other valuables in a coordinated raid across six German states last June - According to Der Hessische Rundfunk, . Investigators into the illegal ring believe that the artworks were painted in forgery studios that were based in Russia and Israel and then shipped to Germany for sale. This information was obtained during two simultaneous raids in Switzerland and Israel.

Some 15 months after Police uncovered the international art forgery ring, German state prosecutors have officially charged two men with the crimes, Der Spiegel reported. The two men charged in connection with this illicit operation are said to be a 68-year-old former gallerist from the German city of Wiesbaden, and the 42-year-old former director of that gallery. A 41-year-old man was also charged as an accomplice.

State prosecutors confirmed to the Der Speigal on Monday that the two men stand accusedof offering and selling 18 forged works of Russian avant-garde art. The forgeries were reported to be works in the style of Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Alexej von Jawlensky, and Natalia Goncharova, among others. It is stated that the sale of 11 counterfeit paintings had resulted in approximately €3 million worth of income for the forgers.

The solicitors of both the accused ringleaders declined to comment on their clients’ case when they were contacted by Der Spiegel. Both men remain in custody.

" As an art lover and long-standing admirer of Russian Avant-Garde art, I firmly believe art fraudsters must be vigorously pursued and put on trial, which I am completely mystified as to why The Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany, known as “BKA”, have engaged Dr André Nakov, a convicted art fraudster, imposter and usurper of the ‘Droit Moral’ of a famous Russian Avant-Garde artist, as an ‘expert witness’ for the trial in Wiesbaden, Germany of accused Russian Avant-Garde art forgers. Nakov, a pseudo-academic, falsely uses the academic title of ‘Professor’, without ever having a professorship, will act as a prosecution witness against two art dealers in Wiesbaden, Germany accused of selling forgeries of Russian Avant-Garde artworks since 2005. In 2001, ‘expert witness’ Nakov was convicted by a court in Geneva, Switzerland for having organized an exhibition devoted to the Russian painter, Mikhail Larionov, shown at the city’s Museum of Art and History from 10 March to 24 April 1989. Of the works listed and owned by Nakov, 183 were falsely attributed to Mikhail Larionov. These forged works appeared in the exhibitions, “Mikhail Larionov: La voie vers l’abstraction” in Frankfurt, Bologna and Geneva from 1987-1988, and were declared fakes by art experts appointed by the Penal Chamber of the Court of Justice of Geneva. Nakov was again convicted in France in 2013 of illegally having claimed the ‘Moral Rights’ to the artistic works of Russian Avant-Garde artist Aleksandra Exter. The Paris Court of Appeal declared that Nakov had obtained these rights fraudulently and by ruse. The June 25th, 2013 judgement of the Paris Court of Appeal withdrew the Moral Right from Nakov and his Alexandra Exter Association, due to having withheld information from the judge, and by doing so having obtained the Moral Right over the works of Alexandra Exter “in a fraudulent manner. Nakov was from then on banned by the Court from making any such claims, was fined and had to bear all court costs. Both these convictions are a matter of public record. The key question for all lovers of the Russian Avant-Garde is how the German Authorities can employ the services of a witness of such ill repute, who can be easily discredited in a trial of such importance to the art world. Or are the German Authorities planning to deliberately lose the case? If so, they could not be doing a better job at preparing the way to a legal disaster. Why call on an extremely dodgy art dealer masquerading as an academic, when there are qualified and highly respected alternative expert witnesses, such as art historian and former Director of the Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg, Dr Raimund Stecker, or Professor Troels Andersen, a Danish art historian, who produced a quintessential work on Kazimir Malevich entitled “K.S. Malevich – The Leporskaya Archive“, and discovered more than 200 falsely attributed Malevich works in Dr Nakov’s work “Malevich – painting the absolute”, a work Professor Andersen condemned as being ‘as good as useless.’ It is imperative that art fraudsters and forgers be apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, securing a conviction by relying on convicted art fraudster Andrei Nakov, a patently unreliable witness, is unsafe and hardly the proper way of achieving that objective. In fact, relying on Nakov is as about as safe as relying on an alcoholic to guard a liquor store! " - 01-03-2015  

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