Apr 23, 2022

Forgery and false provenances

False provenances are needed to insert art forgeries into the historical record.

Where there is forgery there is false provenance.

Dealers who sell forgeries are great sources of false provenances. A special kind of writing is involved in the creation of false provenances. A talent for making things that are not true seem at least plausible. 

Question: Do dealers of forgeries also sell looted art?

Some, like Knoedler, are known to have sold both at one time or another. Knoedler's prestige and power enables it to insert lies into the historical record without being challenged for a very long time. 

What about the others? How to find out?


One approach would be to list dealers known to have forgeries and to list dealers known to have sold looted art and compare. Do any names appear on both lists?


Wikipedia offers a quick list of a few known forgers and dealers of forgeries:

Known art forgers and dealers of forged art (Wikipedia English)

Faussaires et complices (French Wikipedia)

Wolfgang Beltracchi

En littérature et bibliophilie

A Wikidata Query provides a list of people whose Occupation is "Art Forger" (run April 25, 2022)

(Try it! https://w.wiki/55xD )

http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q97917John DeckerGerman artist (1895-1947)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q98085Wolfgang BeltracchiGerman art forger
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q115015Otto WackerGerman art dealer who became infamous for commissioning and selling forgeries of paintings by Vincent van Gogh
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q163298Chang Dai-chienChinese artist (1899-1983)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q286456Émile SchuffeneckerFrench painter
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q436161Han van MeegerenDutch painter and art forger (1889-1947)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q447925Konrad KujauGerman illustrator and forger (1938-2000)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q554816Denis Vrain-LucasFrench forger
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q644968Lothar MalskatGerman artist (1913-1988)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q670175François Fournierstamp forger from Switzerland
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q1176726David Steinart forger (1935-1999)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q1196986Der Spanische Meister
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q1333126Elmyr de HoryHungarian painter and art forger (1906-1976)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q1351330Eric HebbornArt forger and writer (1934-1996)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q1421778John MyattBritish artist and forger
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q1452419Tony TetroAmerican art forger
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q2439758Tom KeatingEnglish art restorer and forger (1917-1984)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q2623158Alceo DossenaItalian artist (1878–1937)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q2625100Tom RipleyFictional character
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q3069245Fernand LegrosFrench art dealer
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q3083165Franz Wolfgang RohrichGerman painter (1787-1834)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q3121821Guy HainFrench art forger
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q3122096Guy RibesFrench painter and art forger
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q3176408Jef Vandervekenart restorer, copyist, art forger (1872-1964)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q3222703Spanish Forgerilluminator and art forger
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q3293972Mark A. Landispainter and forger famous for donating forgeries to museums
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q3302773Maximilien Théodore Chrétin
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q3337567Neal Caffreycharacter from the television show White Collar
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q3573559Yves ChaudronFrench art forger
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q4354257Eduardo de ValfiernoArgentine con man
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q5322050E. M. WashingtonAmerican printmaker
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q5340000Edmé SamsonFrench art forger
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q5492984Franz TiezeIrish art forger
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q5529912Geert Jan JansenDutch painter, art dealer and art forger
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q5563693Giovanni BastianiniItalian artist (1830-1868)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q6120984Jacques van MeegerenDutch illustrator, painter and art forger (1912-1977)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q6140661James OrrockBritish artist (1829-1913)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q6169951Jean-Pierre SchecrounFrench painter
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q6230117John DreweBritish art forger
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q6372256Karl SimNew Zealand artist (1923-2013)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q6390099Kenneth FettermanAmerican scam artist
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q7386161Rétaux de VilletteFrench prostitute
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q7781518Theo van Wijngaardenart forger (1874-1952)
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q8013355William J. ToyeAmerican art forger
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q11858310Erkki Juhani Minkkinen
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q12309706Elena Ivannikova
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q16636925Francis Lagrange
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q17017058Ely SakhaiAmerican art dealer
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q18604488Christian GollerGerman painter
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q19698541Raffaele GargiuloItalian conservator, restorer and art dealer
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q26204027Ernest Durigsculptor; art forger
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q28045496Carl R. Löwenström
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q34322977Odilon RocheFrench painter
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q51821991Leonhard Wackerforger of Van Gogh paintings, brother of Otto Wacker
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q63167621Helene Beltracchiwife of Wolfgang Beltracchi
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q65246313Veli Seppä
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q73230507Theodor Gansen
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q109354199Jordan Hennessyfictional character in the Dreamer Trilogy book series
http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q109363217Michele Lazzaroni

DBpedia has a category: Art Forgers with links to individuals.

A lot of names are missing. But it's a start.

To market an art forgery to a client, someone has to invent a story about the creation and ownership history of the artwork. This can be the artist-forger. But often another person is involved. This other person is often an art dealer or an art historian. 

Dealers of looted art (or art sold under duress)

Wikipedia does not offer us a simple list.  It needs to be created. 

To be continued...


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