Fakes & copies

Beltracchi admits to faking the work of an estimated 50 artists in German interview

In 2011, he was given six years jail time for what was then understood to be a much smaller number of reproductions

The convicted art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi has admitted to faking more works than previously thought. In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, the 61-year-old said that he had forged the works of around 50 artists, and that he could easily have sold between 1,000 and 2,000 works because of the high demand. He did not reveal the exact number or whereabouts of the forgeries. Beltracchi caused one of the biggest art scandals in recent history, faking paintings by modern masters including Max Ernst, Heinrich Campendonk and Fernand Léger over three decades, costing an estimated €34m in damages (left, a fake Alfred Flechtheim label used as proof of provenance). In October 2011, he was sentenced to six years in prison for the forgery of 14 works.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Beltracchi admits to faking more works'