Art Law Report

Disputed Baushaus Artist Kurt Waldmann and Concerns of Another Forgery Enterprise in Germany

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 9, 2015 at 12:07 PM

A few weeks ago some interesting speculation started circulating about the possibility of a new forgery operation in Germany, which was home to the now-infamous Wolfgang Beltracchi. Beltracchi successfully fooled buyers for years with forged Expressionist and Modernist paintings, going so far as to invent a fictional “Jäger Collection” (including a staged photograph of Beltracchi’s wife purporting to show a painting on the wall of an ancestors home). The most interesting thing about the current story is that it is impossible to tell yet whether there is really a problem; the most detailed efforts to date have been unable to confirm whether Kurt Waldmann, the artist in question, even existed. Many of the indicia of concern are there, but they are hardly conclusive.

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Topics: Jäger Collection, Kurt Waldmann, Brussels, Forgery, “Künstliche Tatsachen / Boundary Objects", authentication, authenticity, Pascal Polar, Strasbourg, Bauhaus, Dada, Berlin Wall, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Jean Milossis, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Kunsthaus Dresden, Museums, Berliner Kurier

Analysis and Views Develop on New York Art Authentication Protection Bill

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on June 26, 2014 at 4:34 AM

As we reported back in February, the State Assembly and Senate are considering parallel versions of an amendment to the New York Arts & Cultural Affairs Law that would enhance protections for art authenticators by raising the burden of proof and providing for prevailing-party attorneys’ fees. Our view was, and remains, that the law would be an improvement on the status quo because it would protect the player that often has the least upside in an authentication but who may find herself the target of the disappointed party’s wrath.

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Topics: Donn Zaretsky, Andy Warhol Foundation, Art in America, Daniel Grant, New York State Assembly, authentication, Tracy Zwick, American Rule, Bill No. A09016, Art Law Day, New York Observer, clear and convincing evidence, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Art Law Committee, Chagall Committee, Appraisers Association of America, Keith Haring Foundation, New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, New York City Bar Association, authenticator, M. Knoedler & Co., Chagall, Senate Bill No. S06794

New York Authentication Protection Bill Passes Senate Committee

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 1, 2014 at 10:08 AM

The New York Senate Standing Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation has unanimously endorsed Senate Bill No. S06794. The Committee was no doubt moved by yesterday’s sought-after Art Law Report endorsement. . . .

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Topics: Andy Warhol Foundation, New York State Assembly, authentication, Bill No. A09016, clear and convincing evidence, Appraisal, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Art Law Committee, Keith Haring Foundation, New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, New York City Bar Association, authenticator, M. Knoedler & Co., Senate Bill No. S06794

Proposed Amendment to New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law Would Protect Authenticators

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 30, 2014 at 6:03 AM

It was first reported at the Appraisers Association of America’s Art Law Day in November, 2013 that the New York City Bar Association’s Art Law Committee had drafted a proposed revision to New York’s Art and Cultural Affairs Law to address the rights of authenticators. That proposal, publicized a month later, has now become an actual bill introduced in the New York State Assembly, as Senate Bill No. S06794 and Assembly Bill No. A09016. The bills were then referred to their respective committees for further deliberation.

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Topics: Andy Warhol Foundation, New York State Assembly, authentication, American Rule, Bill No. A09016, Art Law Day, clear and convincing evidence, Appraisal, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Art Law Committee, Chagall Committee, Appraisers Association of America, Keith Haring Foundation, New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, New York City Bar Association, authenticator, M. Knoedler & Co., Chagall, Senate Bill No. S06794

German Art Law Updates from the Dispute Resolution in Germany Blog

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 1, 2012 at 7:36 AM

For those of us trying to follow art law developments in Germany, particularly to get access to original source and court documents in German, Peter Bert’s Dispute Resolution in Germany Blog is a terrific source. Between the Hans Sachs collection case and the contuing fallout from the Wolfgang Beltracchi forgery scandal and the fictional “Jägers Collection,” Germany has had a busy year of art law prominence, particularly with regard to forgery issues. Two recent posts bear reading, both of which attach the original court opinions in German, for their interesting analysis.

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Topics: Forgery, Lempertz, Jörg Immendorf, Peter Bert, Germany, Hans Sachs, Rotes Bild mit Pferden, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Dispute Resolution in Germany, Red Painting with Horses, Copyright, Heinrich Campendonk, Jägers Collection, intellectual property

Wolfgang Beltracchi Claims Forgeries Known to Date are Just the Beginning

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on March 7, 2012 at 4:54 AM

Confessed forger Wolfgang Beltracchi is now telling German weekly Der Spiegel that the 14 works to which he confessed forging at his trial last fall are part of a group of “more than 50” artists whose paintings he faked.

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Topics: Forgery, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Der Spiegel

Ruminations on Connoisseurship, Forgery, Knoedler and Litigation in the News

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 9, 2011 at 5:02 AM

We’ve been following a number of prominent stories for several weeks now and thinking about what they mean in the crossover between art and the law. It’s fair to say that a theme is starting to develop, namely, that after the Beltracchi forgery trial in Cologne, the Warhol Foundation’s decision to close its doors to authentication requests, and the brewing scandal over the authenticity of paintings sold by Knoedler and other galleries, the legal significance of knowing—and even asking—the age-old question from Art History 101—“who made that?”—has come again to the fore.

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Topics: Cologne, Forgery, Knoedler, slander, The Art Newspaper, Riah Pryor, Pierre Lagrange, Inc., Degas, Jackson Pollock, libel, catalogue raisonné, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Collections, Francis Bacon, The Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, defamation, Georgina Adam, The Art Law Blog, connoisseurship

Beltracchi and Forgers Sentenced in Cologne

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 28, 2011 at 5:44 AM

The forgery trial in Cologne ended yesterday with the sentencing of Wolfgang Beltracchi and his co-defendants for their now-infamous forgeries and sale of the fictional "Werner Jäger" collection-the name of his wife's grandfather. Beltracchi was sentenced to 6 years, consistent with the deal struck last month with prosecutors, the other defendants (including his wife) to various lesser terms.

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Topics: Cologne, Forgery, Max Pechstein, Germany, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Helene Beltracchi, Heinrich Campendonk, connoisseurship, Max Ernst

Confession in German Forgery Trial

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 28, 2011 at 8:31 AM

On the heels of yesterday's interruption and pressure from the presiding judge to accept a six-year sentence, the accused leader of a forgery ring in Germany apparently confessed today to 14 forgeries. It's been reported that he said that he enjoyed fooling collectors and experts. It is anticipated that the other defendants will receive similar sentences, though it is not yet certain.

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Topics: Forgery, Lempertz, Max Pechstein, Germany, Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Restitution, Helene Beltracchi, Heinrich Campendonk, intellectual property, connoisseurship, Max Ernst

German Forgery Trial Update-Deal Offered?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 27, 2011 at 9:14 AM

We have been following with interest the trial in Cologne, Germany of four accused forgers. The trial began at the beginning of the month. Wolfgang Beltracchi, 60, is accused of organizing a scam that defrauded art collectors out of millions of dollars. Comedian, actor, and writer Steve Martin is among the most high-profile victims. The 47 forgeries mimicked 20th century paintings by Kees Van Dongen, Max Ernst, Max Pechstein and Heinrich Campendonk.

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Topics: Cologne, Forgery, Lempertz, Van Dongen, Max Pechstein, Germany, Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Restitution, Helene Beltracchi, Heinrich Campendonk, intellectual property, connoisseurship, Max Ernst

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