If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Vanity Fair)   The Con Artist: How did a self-described German hippie pull off one of the biggest cons in art-world history?   (vanityfair.com) divider line 54
    More: Interesting, Germans, Black Forest, Freiburg, installation arts, South China Sea, Winnebago, industrial designers, art forgery  
•       •       •

11982 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Oct 2012 at 12:39 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



54 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all
 
2012-10-12 10:42:37 AM  
Considering that art buyers are spending millions of dollars for crap representing art (jackson pollock #1 offender), I say Good for this guy. A fool and his money are soon parted. At least Kincaid and his awful garbage at least looked like something.
 
2012-10-12 12:44:41 PM  
sooo many words for what two sentences would accomplish.

"He did it for the money and because he could. Also, most art is garbage, and is therefore easy to fake."
 
2012-10-12 12:46:47 PM  
I don't know art, but I know what I like.
BOOBIES
 
2012-10-12 12:48:22 PM  
TLDR.
 
2012-10-12 12:48:34 PM  
The whole art world is a con. Elephants "paint" pictures that then sell for $40,000. Other animals and even little kids "paint" pictures that sell for just as much or more.
 
2012-10-12 12:48:46 PM  
encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com

UInless it involved Audrey Hepbrun, it wasn't that great of an art heist.

Oh, I'd leave you cross eyed and smiling, Audrey. Giggity.
 
2012-10-12 12:50:50 PM  

Dirtybird971: sooo many words for what two sentences would accomplish.

"He did it for the money and because he could. Also, most art is garbage, and is therefore easy to fake."


Not so much that it's garbage as much as the fact that you're not paying for the actual image, you're instead paying for the history and name associated with it. If his paintings were good enough to be mistaken for the real thing for decades (and even by the widow of one of the artists he was copying!), then if you like it for the actual painting, what's the difference?
 
2012-10-12 12:51:15 PM  
What I'd like to do is put on a museum gallery exhibition of a single artists works wherein everything, even the artist, is fake and the paintings were done in the past year. But we set the whole thing in some classic era, and describe the artist as oft-unappreciated. Then we put some of those paintings on auction over the next few years.

It shouldn't be that hard to wedge a new artist into the 19th century. Hell, we could even do the materials right. No TiO white, all zinc and lead white.
 
2012-10-12 01:01:04 PM  
If it's so easy...then do it yourself. Let see your stuff.

I agree it is a game and group of rich people that really care about the person a bit more than the art itself, but still. It still takes skills to get rich and famous being an artist. If it were easy I would be both. But then again, I don't want to play the game right. I just like creating stuff on my own for my own interest. I don't take myself near seriously enough to get big into the art world.

I have seen some crappy stuff get props, but hey, the artist went for it and got some recognition. I ain't even mad. Well, maybe just a tad. Self-confidence and selling your stuff is a skill. Art is business.

Haters gonna hate.

Had a show a couple years ago. Didn't sell anything.
 
2012-10-12 01:05:13 PM  
One, the high end art market is a pretty small world. Did no one think to question how this guy and his two flunkies were always finding "forgotten" or "lost" works by high value artists?

Second, FTFA:
In return for admitting in court to having forged 14 paintings, Wolfgang and Helene received jail terms of just six and four years, respectively, with time off for good behavior. Providing they remain gainfully employed, they will be confined to prison only at night.

Damn. Just.... damn it. These guys forged millions of dollars in paintings and were living like aristocrats.
 
2012-10-12 01:10:16 PM  
It also usually takes dying to become really rich and famous. I am not interested in that.
 
2012-10-12 01:22:08 PM  

Walker: The whole art world is a con. Elephants "paint" pictures that then sell for $40,000. Other animals and even little kids "paint" pictures that sell for just as much or more.


Show me the elephants, animals and little kids that are getting $40k per picture.

I need to see what you see in your world.
 
2012-10-12 01:34:53 PM  

T.M.S.: Walker: The whole art world is a con. Elephants "paint" pictures that then sell for $40,000. Other animals and even little kids "paint" pictures that sell for just as much or more.

Show me the elephants, animals and little kids that are getting $40k per picture.

I need to see what you see in your world.


How about $325... Close enough?
 
2012-10-12 01:39:42 PM  

Wogus: T.M.S.: Walker: The whole art world is a con. Elephants "paint" pictures that then sell for $40,000. Other animals and even little kids "paint" pictures that sell for just as much or more.

Show me the elephants, animals and little kids that are getting $40k per picture.

I need to see what you see in your world.

How about $325... Close enough?


missed it by $39,675
 
2012-10-12 01:42:38 PM  
I read the entire article, and find what this couple did to be just desserts. While I understand an artist needs to be compensated fairly for his work, this bidding on art pieces in to the millions of dollars is absurd. The so called 'experts' and middlemen are leeches. I own a signed Sandu Liberman print that I fell into for fifty bucks, that I've been offered big bucks for. No way would I sell it, because I like the art. That's the way it should be. This guy is a hero.
 
2012-10-12 01:46:11 PM  

Wogus: T.M.S.: Walker: The whole art world is a con. Elephants "paint" pictures that then sell for $40,000. Other animals and even little kids "paint" pictures that sell for just as much or more.

Show me the elephants, animals and little kids that are getting $40k per picture.

I need to see what you see in your world.

How about $325... Close enough?


Nope. Overpriced trinkets bought on line dont count. I'm afraid I need to see the overwhelming evidence the "art world" is regularly being scammed out of $40k by animals and little children.
 
2012-10-12 01:49:08 PM  

busy chillin': If it's so easy...then do it yourself. Let see your stuff.


It sounds like this guy had actual talent. He chose to use his powers for evil.
 
2012-10-12 01:51:04 PM  

pciszek: busy chillin': If it's so easy...then do it yourself. Let see your stuff.

It sounds like this guy had actual talent. He chose to use his powers for evil.


Seriously.
 
2012-10-12 01:52:48 PM  
I own what I like and I like what I own.
Some of it has big names on it.
Most of it has local artists that I like and think do good work.

/Some is by my mother in law, a very good local artist who shows and sells quite a bit.
//I like my in-laws. We get along.
 
2012-10-12 01:57:41 PM  
It never fails to blow my mind the way art history went.

I mean, art in the Middle Ages was crude, usually lacking an understanding of perspective. A lot of high school students DOODLE with far better quality. In fact you probably went to high school with some kids who, if transported back in time, would be a "Renaissance Master".

Genetically, we didn't advance or anything. And a lot of these kids didn't take a class or anything. Many apparently got the skill simply from SEEING prior art. Which is odd, in that you "see" the things the art represented every day, right? But that's not how this works- you need to see a form that was drawn or sculpted.

Or maybe we could just chalk the difference in kids to just the abundance of paper and pencils. Not a lot of paper for casual drawing prior to 20th century. If you didn't occupy your time with it as a kid, it's unlikely you'd think to become a master sketcher and then painter once you can finally buy some paper or canvas media as an adult.
 
2012-10-12 01:59:16 PM  

Walker: The whole art world is a con. Elephants "paint" pictures that then sell for $40,000. Other animals and even little kids "paint" pictures that sell for just as much or more.


Came here to say this.

It's a scam from top to bottom.

Financial success as an artist basically boils down to getting represented by one of a handful of prominent gallery owners. If you're represented by Booglefark, you must be a Fantastic Artist and your work is worth big bucks because everybody else represented by Booglefark is a Fantastic Artist whose work sells for big bucks. Never mind the only reason Booglefark is able to pull this off is because he knows lots of people with more money than taste, and the only reason those people are willing to plunk down five figures for a (literal) can of shiat, is because they can sell it to a bigger fool a couple years down the line for six figures.
 
2012-10-12 02:03:22 PM  
www.biography.com
"You mad"
 
2012-10-12 02:04:39 PM  
and really, why do you guys give such a sh*t? Don't buy something you don't like for $40,000,000.

Hobby Lobby sells prints.
 
2012-10-12 02:09:27 PM  

T.M.S.: Wogus: T.M.S.: Walker: The whole art world is a con. Elephants "paint" pictures that then sell for $40,000. Other animals and even little kids "paint" pictures that sell for just as much or more.

Show me the elephants, animals and little kids that are getting $40k per picture.

I need to see what you see in your world.

How about $325... Close enough?

Nope. Overpriced trinkets bought on line dont count. I'm afraid I need to see the overwhelming evidence the "art world" is regularly being scammed out of $40k by animals and little children.


Don't know about the animal art, but the kids making big bucks is well documented; Aelita Andre is five years old, having her second solo show, and has sold paintings for well in excess of $30,000, and Akiane Kramarik, who started painting at age 6, is pricing her originals from $5,000 to $3 MILLION.
 
2012-10-12 02:16:52 PM  

clyph: Walker: The whole art world is a con. Elephants "paint" pictures that then sell for $40,000. Other animals and even little kids "paint" pictures that sell for just as much or more.

Came here to say this.

It's a scam from top to bottom.

Financial success as an artist basically boils down to getting represented by one of a handful of prominent gallery owners. If you're represented by Booglefark, you must be a Fantastic Artist and your work is worth big bucks because everybody else represented by Booglefark is a Fantastic Artist whose work sells for big bucks. Never mind the only reason Booglefark is able to pull this off is because he knows lots of people with more money than taste, and the only reason those people are willing to plunk down five figures for a (literal) can of shiat, is because they can sell it to a bigger fool a couple years down the line for six figures.


You mean sort of the way high finance and real estate function. Sort of like that?
 
2012-10-12 02:20:00 PM  

miscreant


Smartest
Funniest

2012-10-12 12:50:50 PM

Dirtybird971: sooo many words for what two sentences would accomplish.

"He did it for the money and because he could. Also, most art is garbage, and is therefore easy to fake."

Not so much that it's garbage as much as the fact that you're not paying for the actual image, you're instead paying for the history and name associated with it. If his paintings were good enough to be mistaken for the real thing for decades (and even by the widow of one of the artists he was copying!), then if you like it for the actual painting, what's the difference?


I'm with you there. I'm saying more that what is defined as "Art" can be anything from moist coffee grounds thrown against a wall to (essentially) child porn. Personally, I liked the paintings he did. But unless it was a long dead famous painter, I'd never pay what he was asking.

/of course, I'm also broke
//and not very informed
 
2012-10-12 02:23:24 PM  
"German hippie"?
 
2012-10-12 02:24:57 PM  

Vtimlin: TLDR.


yeah it was.
 
2012-10-12 02:25:18 PM  

Amberwind: T.M.S.: Wogus: T.M.S.: Walker: The whole art world is a con. Elephants "paint" pictures that then sell for $40,000. Other animals and even little kids "paint" pictures that sell for just as much or more.

Show me the elephants, animals and little kids that are getting $40k per picture.

I need to see what you see in your world.

How about $325... Close enough?

Nope. Overpriced trinkets bought on line dont count. I'm afraid I need to see the overwhelming evidence the "art world" is regularly being scammed out of $40k by animals and little children.

Don't know about the animal art, but the kids making big bucks is well documented; Aelita Andre is five years old, having her second solo show, and has sold paintings for well in excess of $30,000, and Akiane Kramarik, who started painting at age 6, is pricing her originals from $5,000 to $3 MILLION.


By well documented do you mean a single article claiming the girl sold ONE painting for $30k without mentioning the "sucker" who "bought" it?

I admit I only skimmed the link. Does it mention the girls parents paid to have their kids work shown in the taller? Cause they did.
 
2012-10-12 02:28:05 PM  
Paid to have her work shown in the GALLERY. (sorry, hard to type on the bus)
 
2012-10-12 02:33:35 PM  

T.M.S.:

You mean sort of the way high finance and real estate function. Sort of like that?


Can you believe these rich guys will buy a house for a $506 million? I mean, come on, I can sell you a house for $150,000. Its got a roof and everything. Even has a two car garage.

/maybe it's not apples to apples comparable but I went for it
 
2012-10-12 02:34:25 PM  
He was a student until the age of 45, then decided he should do something to get money.
 
2012-10-12 02:38:21 PM  
This was a fascinating article, thanks for submitting it subby!
 
2012-10-12 02:50:55 PM  

T.M.S.: Amberwind: T.M.S.: Wogus: T.M.S.: Walker: The whole art world is a con. Elephants "paint" pictures that then sell for $40,000. Other animals and even little kids "paint" pictures that sell for just as much or more.

Show me the elephants, animals and little kids that are getting $40k per picture.

I need to see what you see in your world.

How about $325... Close enough?

Nope. Overpriced trinkets bought on line dont count. I'm afraid I need to see the overwhelming evidence the "art world" is regularly being scammed out of $40k by animals and little children.

Don't know about the animal art, but the kids making big bucks is well documented; Aelita Andre is five years old, having her second solo show, and has sold paintings for well in excess of $30,000, and Akiane Kramarik, who started painting at age 6, is pricing her originals from $5,000 to $3 MILLION.

By well documented do you mean a single article claiming the girl sold ONE painting for $30k without mentioning the "sucker" who "bought" it?

I admit I only skimmed the link. Does it mention the girls parents paid to have their kids work shown in the taller? Cause they did.


Dammit, I know I'm feeding a troll right now. You are aware of the existence of Wikipedia, right?
 
2012-10-12 03:20:20 PM  

MrEricSir: "German hippie"?


Where do ya think Birkenstocks come from?
 
2012-10-12 03:28:25 PM  

Amberwind: T.M.S.: Amberwind: T.M.S.: Wogus: T.M.S.: Walker: The whole art world is a con. Elephants "paint" pictures that then sell for $40,000. Other animals and even little kids "paint" pictures that sell for just as much or more.

Show me the elephants, animals and little kids that are getting $40k per picture.

I need to see what you see in your world.

How about $325... Close enough?

Nope. Overpriced trinkets bought on line dont count. I'm afraid I need to see the overwhelming evidence the "art world" is regularly being scammed out of $40k by animals and little children.

Don't know about the animal art, but the kids making big bucks is well documented; Aelita Andre is five years old, having her second solo show, and has sold paintings for well in excess of $30,000, and Akiane Kramarik, who started painting at age 6, is pricing her originals from $5,000 to $3 MILLION.

By well documented do you mean a single article claiming the girl sold ONE painting for $30k without mentioning the "sucker" who "bought" it?

I admit I only skimmed the link. Does it mention the girls parents paid to have their kids work shown in the taller? Cause they did.

Dammit, I know I'm feeding a troll right now. You are aware of the existence of Wikipedia, right?


You provided a link that disproved your own statement. And followed it up with Wikipedia which I guess I am now obligated to search in order to prove YOU right. Sorry I don't think I will be doing that. 

But I would still welcome evidence the child artist is regularly commanding "well in excess of $30k" per canvas.
 
2012-10-12 03:42:36 PM  

wildcardjack: What I'd like to do is put on a museum gallery exhibition of a single artists works wherein everything, even the artist, is fake and the paintings were done in the past year. But we set the whole thing in some classic era, and describe the artist as oft-unappreciated. Then we put some of those paintings on auction over the next few years.

It shouldn't be that hard to wedge a new artist into the 19th century. Hell, we could even do the materials right. No TiO white, all zinc and lead white.


This has been done; albeit with a modern graffiti artist rather than a 19th century artist.
If you haven't seen the documentary "Exit through the Gift Shop", it's a must-see. 



/BTW: thanks subby: I enjoyed the article.
 
2012-10-12 03:44:40 PM  
The comoditization of art is the ultimate long con.
 
2012-10-12 03:53:14 PM  
Another, more lucrative, German forger here. (Worth a read).

www.wired.com
 
2012-10-12 04:01:41 PM  
1. The art scene is full of pretentious wankers and attention seekers. Lindsay Bluth-Fünke and Osborne Cox level intellects must me everywhere you turn. It would be plenty easy to pull a swifty if ya half new what you were doing, picked your marks etc.

2. FTA: forged by Beltracchi; it sold at auction for $3.6 million in 2006.

Auction houses make rogue financial trading houses look like saints when it comes generating turnover and earning dem big commission $$$. Their due diligence and checking of an artwork's provenance can be very wanting at times, even blue chip firms like Sotheby's [although the cockroaches have had the light shined on them a bit recently].

3. Real experts, not of the pretentious wanker or attention seeking type, are thin on the ground. There would be plenty of experts who would simply get caught up in the hype of a new "discovery" who would simply be ITCHING to be the dude who authenticates it. Plus they wouldn't have the rocks to p1ss on everyone's parade if they did have nagging doubts

Just 3 complete guesses. Having seen maybe 3 documentary exposes of the scene in the last decade, not much to go on.
 
zez
2012-10-12 04:07:45 PM  

wildcardjack: What I'd like to do is put on a museum gallery exhibition of a single artists works wherein everything, even the artist, is fake and the paintings were done in the past year. But we set the whole thing in some classic era, and describe the artist as oft-unappreciated. Then we put some of those paintings on auction over the next few years.

It shouldn't be that hard to wedge a new artist into the 19th century. Hell, we could even do the materials right. No TiO white, all zinc and lead white.


Sounds like the movie, "Exit through the Gift Shop"
 
2012-10-12 04:11:10 PM  

Milk D: Vtimlin: TLDR.

yeah it was.


This is the type of thing I normally find interesting, and even I TDRED it.
 
2012-10-12 04:11:18 PM  

Big Ramifications: 1. The art scene is full of pretentious wankers and attention seekers. Lindsay Bluth-Fünke and Osborne Cox level intellects must me everywhere you turn. It would be plenty easy to pull a swifty if ya half new what you were doing, picked your marks etc.

2. FTA: forged by Beltracchi; it sold at auction for $3.6 million in 2006.

Auction houses make rogue financial trading houses look like saints when it comes generating turnover and earning dem big commission $$$. Their due diligence and checking of an artwork's provenance can be very wanting at times, even blue chip firms like Sotheby's [although the cockroaches have had the light shined on them a bit recently].

3. Real experts, not of the pretentious wanker or attention seeking type, are thin on the ground. There would be plenty of experts who would simply get caught up in the hype of a new "discovery" who would simply be ITCHING to be the dude who authenticates it. Plus they wouldn't have the rocks to p1ss on everyone's parade if they did have nagging doubts

Just 3 complete guesses. Having seen maybe 3 documentary exposes of the scene in the last decade, not much to go on.

~
~
4. Some forgers are extraordinarily talented. Saw a documentary about some cat who could pretty much mimic ANY famous painter's style. He was a genius. Totally blew me away.

Wish I could remember more details. I seem to recall he had husband&wife rich benefactors who were in on the lark.

That was the other thing. I'm sure money was a factor, but I also got this great vibe during the doco that they were having a whole lot of naughty fun at the same time. They seemed just so happy and full of life.
 
2012-10-12 04:19:07 PM  

Amberwind: Don't know about the animal art, but the kids making big bucks is well documented; Aelita Andre is five years old, having her second solo show, and has sold paintings for well in excess of $30,000, and Akiane Kramarik, who started painting at age 6, is pricing her originals from $5,000 to $3 MILLION.

~
~
The five-year-old's proud dad said last year: 'She chooses the colours herself. She's so determined, and forceful, and decisive, and she'll actually get angry if you attempt to suggest a colour.'

Aelita began painting before she could walk at 11-months old and now has her own space to create her artworks, mainly using acrylics on canvas.

Once her parents saw that she had a talent, they submitted her work to a local gallery, prompting the owner to arrange a special exhibition for her, unaware of her tender age - then only two years old.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2141680/Aelita-Andre-Paintin gs -worlds-youngest-professional-artist-5-whos-earned-100k.html

I saw the poor chump being interviewed. He admitted to being "embarrassed."
 
2012-10-12 04:34:28 PM  
Workers had just put the finishing touches on their $7 million villa, after 19 months of extensive renovations. Lanterns lit up the cobblestone walkway to the hillside house, a five-level minimalist structure with a glass and Siberian-larch-wood façade, steel beams, pastel-colored tile floors, and contemporary paintings and sculptures filling every room.

I understand what the term 'minimalist' means in art/architecture, but I still think it's funny being applied to a $7 million, five-level villa.
 
2012-10-12 04:39:06 PM  

Big Ramifications: 4. Some forgers are extraordinarily talented. Saw a documentary about some cat who could pretty much mimic ANY famous painter's style. He was a genius. Totally blew me away.

Wish I could remember more details. I seem to recall he had husband&wife rich benefactors who were in on the lark.

That was the other thing. I'm sure money was a factor, but I also got this great vibe during the doco that they were having a whole lot of naughty fun at the same time. They seemed just so happy and full of life.

~
~
Jesus Christ I'm an idiot. The doco I saw was probably about the guy in the article.

// I'm pretty sure it was a documentary
/// possibly a lengthy investigative news piece. Same diff.
 
2012-10-12 05:05:05 PM  
Six pages of drivel? And the "writer" used the term "a tad bit." I am going to go and become a heroin addict because of this article.
 
2012-10-12 05:11:00 PM  

busy chillin': Can you believe these rich guys will buy a house for a $506 million? I mean, come on, I can sell you a house for $150,000. Its got a roof and everything. Even has a two car garage.

/maybe it's not apples to apples comparable but I went for it


It's pretty far from comparable.

If a house in a particular place costs $506m, I guarantee that you probably won't be able to build an identical house next door for a lot less.

Original art is all about the fact that it's the original. If you can find an art restorer, someone who is a talented painter and studied an artist in detail so that they know how to restore a painting in the same way that the original artist painted it, they will produce you a copy that is so close that you (and almost everyone) won't be able to tell the difference.
 
2012-10-12 05:19:23 PM  

farkeruk: busy chillin': Can you believe these rich guys will buy a house for a $506 million? I mean, come on, I can sell you a house for $150,000. Its got a roof and everything. Even has a two car garage.

/maybe it's not apples to apples comparable but I went for it

It's pretty far from comparable.

If a house in a particular place costs $506m, I guarantee that you probably won't be able to build an identical house next door for a lot less.



that leads me to believe location matters...sort of like how the artist that produced it matters.

You can add up all the nails, screws, windows and doors and other materials and it won't equal 506 million. It is about something intangible. hmmmmmmm? maybe the view and the land? maybe the artist and the history. interesting.
 
2012-10-12 05:45:02 PM  
The sad part is, the guy had talent and probably could have been a decent artist in his own right.

But that would not have been as much fun, he had to cheat; totally seduced by the Dark Side.
 
Displayed 50 of 54 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report