Art Law: French Judgment Against Expert in Max Ernst Forgery Case Set Aside

Max_Ernst_1976In May 2013, we reported that a French court, the Tribunal de grande instance de Nanterre, had ordered art historian and former Centre George Pompidou director Werner Spies to pay damages in the order of EUR 650,000 to the purchaser of a painting. The Art Newspaper now reports that on appeal, the judgment has been set aside. Continue reading

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Art Law: Expert Found Liable For Opinion On Fake Max Ernst Painting

Le Monde reported yesterday that art historian and former Centre George Pompidou director Werner Spies had been ordered to pay damages in the order of EUR 650,000 to the purchaser of a painting. Tremblement de terre purportedly was a work of Max Ernst. Spies, a world-leading expert on Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso, had, according to the Tribunal de grande instance de Nanterre, authenticated the painting and delivered an expert opinion on which the purchaser had relied. Tremblement de terre, however, turned out to be fake. It had been produced by Wolfgang Beltracchi, the man at the centre of Germany’s biggest art scandal for decades. Continue reading

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Art Law: Auction House Liable in Sale of Fake Expressionist Painting – Update

In an earlier post, I had written about a judgment of the District Court (Landgericht) Cologne that had held the Lempertz auction house liable in relation to the sale of a Campendonk painting forged by Wolfgang Beltracchi. The court ordered Lempertz to hold the buyer harmless for the purchase price in the order of EUR 2.9 Million.   Continue reading

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Art Law: Auction House Liable in Sale of Fake Expressionist Painting

Last year, Wolfgang Beltracchi had been making headlines as one of the most, shall I say, “successful” counterfeiters in recent art history, when criminal proceedings were brought against him. Beltracchi had specialized in forging German expressionist painters. He managed to invent a completely fictitious early 20th century art collection, the Werner Jägers collection. His works of art thus gained a first class pedigree, and were sold through renowned auction houses such as Christie’s in London or Lempertz in Cologne.  In the criminal proceedings against him and his helpers, it became known that the turn-over Beltracchi’s art scam had generated was in the tens of millions of Euros. The buyer of a fake painting brought an action against the Lempertz auction house for damages. In a judgment issued today, the District Court (Landgericht) Cologne held Lempertz liable and ordered it to hold the buyer harmless for the purchase price in the order of EUR 2.9 million. Continue reading

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