ART SCAM IN GERMANY: A Fake Count Sells Hundreds Of Fake Giacometti Statues

Giacometti’s ‘L’Homme qui marche I sold for a recordbreaking $104 million last year

[credit provider=”Wikimedia Commons”]

It was the largest scam to ever shake the German art market: a self-proclaimed count in Germany sold hundreds of fake Alberto Giacometti statues to unsuspecting collectors until he was nabbed by undercover cops in 2009, according to Spiegel.The scamster, Lothar Senke, who called himself the Count of Waldstein, is to be sentenced next week by a district court in Stuttgart.

How Senke and several accomplices managed to sell over 200 fake sculptures — some of them terrible — out of the trunk of his car is a mystery. Investigators still haven’t figured out where the faux-Giacomettis came from.

Spiegel explains:

Investigators discovered that [accomplice] Schulte had driven regularly to the Netherlands, where he picked up the sculptures and brought them to his storeroom in Mainz.

Schulte also admits to sending bank transfers to the Netherlands amounting to €700,000.

The recipient was a business partner known as “Brummie,” who moved to Thailand five years ago. Schulte continued to send money there, too.

Giacometti, a contemporary of Picasso and Matisse, was the creator of some of the world’s most expensive sculptures. A life-size bronze sculpture by the artist sold for a recordbreaking $104 million at Sotheby’s last year.

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