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A Note On Art Forgeries in the 21st Century

From the ‘you’d think we’d be done with the whole forgeries thing by now but no’ department…


Sotheby’s Chairman Domenico De Sole and his wife settled their lawsuit against Knoedler & Co. gallery in New York, ending a four-year legal battle over a fake Mark Rothko painting.

Lawyers for both sides announced the accord Wednesday in Manhattan federal court in the middle of trial, following a Feb. 7 settlement with art dealer Ann Freedman, former president of the gallery. Terms of the latest agreement weren’t disclosed.

The fake Rothko exhibited in court
The fake Rothko exhibited in court
Source: cgr-law

The De Soles in 2004 paid $8.3 million for the painting, later revealed as a fake. They sued Freedman, Knoedler & Co. and 8-31 Holdings Inc., which owned the gallery. The $25 million the plaintiffs were seeking in damages represents the painting’s theoretical value today had it been authentic, their attorneys said during the trial.


Now, you would’ve thought that Sotheby’s chairman would have had access to all kinds of people who could’ve done their due diligence on the painting… but somehow, that didn’t happen… nobody spotted the fake until it was too late.

From about 1994 to 2008, Knoedler allegedly sold dozens of forged paintings attributed to such postwar artists as Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning to collectors including hedge fund manager Pierre Lagrange; Jack Levy, a former global co-chairman of mergers and acquisitions at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.; and John Howard, chief executive officer of private-equity fund Irving Place Capital.

Okay see now that’s just embarrassing.

But you know, it’s weird… in a society awash with all kinds of art for people to enjoy, a society with more art than ever before, and more artistic services than ever before… People are still paying ridiculous amounts of money at auction houses for the same pieces of art over and over again. And those ridiculous amounts are exactly why forgers are still forging those same old pieces of art.

It’s like the people with such absurd amounts of money and the forgers are living in their own reality… completely separate from the rest of the world.

Anyways… rich people problems am I right…

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