The pigment that brought down the master forger Wolfgang Beltracchi—titanium white—slipped into his fakes by accident, says the British scientist Nicholas Eastaugh. The discovery of the pigment in Rotes Bild mit Pferden, originally thought to be by Heinrich Campendonk, led to Beltracchi’s arrest and conviction in one of the world’s largest art fraud cases. During a recent lecture in London, organised by Icon (the Institute of Conservation), Eastaugh said that Beltracchi analysed pigments for the presence of titanium white, which was not in use when the painting was purportedly created, but that his analysis let him down when the pigment was found in a painted sketch on the back of the work.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Beltracchi’s downfall? Titanium white'