The German master forger Wolfgang Beltracchi, who was recently released on probation, after serving three years of a six-year prison sentence for being convicted of creating 14 fake works of art purported to be by the likes of Max Ernst and Heinrich Campendonk. Yet the number of work that the forger was convicted of creating is a mere fraction of the 300 works that Beltracchi and his wife claim to have created over their 35-year forgery career. Around 60 of his works are thought to have been subsequently identified.
But now the notorious German art forger, Wolfgang Beltracchi has claimed on a German talk show that he “recently” saw one of his paintings hanging in Vienna’s Albertina Museum, Der Standard reports. Beltracchi made the claim on the ZDF show Markus Lanz last Thursday.
Last year Beltracchi made a similar claim on the Austrian TV show Talk im Hangar-7, where the convicted forger suggested that one of his fakes may be among the Albertina’s collection, without divulging which work it was. At the time it was speculated that the fake may have been Max Pechstein’s painting Lying Female Act with Cat (1909), from the collection of expressionist expert Hermann Gerlinger. The painting was part of a 2007 exhibition at the museum.
Salzburger Nachrichten reported that in response to Beltracchi’s latest claim regarding his many unattributed forgeries, Klaus Albrecht Schröder, the director of the Albertina Museum told the Austrian radio station ORF-Radio Ö3 that he intends to communicate with the forger to ascertain whether he was talking about the painting featured in the 2007 exhibition or a different artwork.
“I will make contact and ask if it is the painting from the Gerlinger collection or a different artwork,” the director assured. “Of course we want to know. I said at the beginning that the prosecution made a grave mistake not to use the case to discover all of the fakes.”