As a rule, very talented but unsuccessful artists, whose independent work for some reason is not interesting to anyone, are decided to falsify paintings.
Another thing - forever living classics of fine art, whose famous names give value to even the most insignificant things. How can you miss this opportunity and not earn money to replicate their unlimited talent?
The heroes of this article, who became famous as amazing art-falsifiers of the XX – XXI centuries, argued in a similar way.

Top 5 most famous artists who painted fake picturesTop 5 most famous artists who painted fake pictures

Han van megeren

At the beginning of the twentieth century, this Dutch painter made a fortune by skillfully imitating the paintings of Peter de Hoch and Jan Vermeer. In terms of the current rate, van Megheren earned about thirty million dollars from fakes. His most famous and profitable painting is considered to be Christ at Emmaus, created after a series of fairly successful Vermeer paintings.
Han van Megheren forged Jan Vermeer styleHan van Megheren forged Jan Vermeer style
However, the more interesting story of “Christ and the Judges” - another “Vermeer” picture, bought by Hermann Goering himself. However, this fact turned out to be a symbol of recognition and collapse for van Megheren at the same time. The US military, who studied the property of the Reichsmarshal after his death, quickly established the identity of the seller of such valuable canvases. The authorities of Holland accused the artist of collaboration and selling the cultural heritage of the nation.
"Christ and the Judges" - the most scandalous picture of Meregen"Christ and the Judges" - the most scandalous picture of Meregen
However, Van Megheren immediately admitted to making fakes, for which he received only one year in prison. Unfortunately, one of the most famous falsifiers of the twentieth century died of a heart attack a month after the announcement of the verdict.

Elmir de hori

This Hungarian artist is one of the most successful masters of art falsification in history. After the end of the Second World War and until the end of the 1960s, de Hori was able to realize thousands of fake paintings, presenting them as original works by Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani and Pierre Renoir.Sometimes de Hori forged not only pictures, but also catalogs, illustrating them with photographs of his fakes.
Talented artist-forger Elmir de HoriTalented artist-forger Elmir de Hori
However, twenty years after the start of his career, de Hori was forced to stop making fakes. The fraudulent nature of his work was uncovered with the participation of the American oil magnate Algour Meadows, who filed a lawsuit against de Hori and his representative Fernand Legros. As a result, de Hori switched to creating his own paintings, which became very popular after his death in 1976.
Fake picasso brush by elmira de horiFake picasso brush by elmira de hori
It is interesting that some of the allegedly independent works of de Hori, sold at auctions for substantial money, also caused experts to suspect their true origin.

Tom Keating

English self-taught artist and restorer Thomas Patrick Keating has been selling art dealers and rich collectors for years excellent copies of Peter Bruegel, Jean-Baptiste Chardin, Thomas Gainsborough, Peter Rubens and other famous masters of the brush. During his tenure, Keating has produced over two thousand fakes that have spread through many galleries and museums.
Thomas Keating, one of the most famous art-falsifiersThomas Keating, one of the most famous art-falsifiers
Keating was a supporter of socialism, and therefore considered the system of modern art "rotten and evil." Protesting against the American avant-garde fashion, greedy merchants and corrupt critics, Keating intentionally allowed minor flaws and anachronisms, and also made the inscription "fake" before putting paint on the canvas.
Copy of Renoir's painting “Portrait of Actress Jeanne Samary”Copy of Renoir's painting “Portrait of Actress Jeanne Samary”
In the late 1970s, Keating gave an interview to The Times magazine, revealing the whole truth about his craft. Lost prison sentence was avoided only for health reasons and sincere recognition of the artist. Subsequently, Tom Keating wrote a book and even participated in the filming of television programs about art.

Wolfgang Beltrakki

One of the most original art-falsifiers is the German artist Wolfgang Beltrakki. The main source of inspiration for him were avant-garde and expressionist artists such as Max Ernst, Andre Lot, Kees van Dongen, Heinrich Kendéndonck and others. At the same time, Wolfgang wrote not only trivial copies, but also created new masterpieces in the style of the above-mentioned authors, which were later exhibited at the leading auctions.
Wolfgang Beltrakki - the most successful forgerWolfgang Beltrakki - the most successful forger
The most successful counterfeit Beltrakki - "Forest" by Max Ernst. The quality of the work made a great impression not only on the former head of the National Center for Art and Culture named after Georges Pompidou, where Ernst's work is the main specialization, but also on the widow of a famous artist. As a result, the picture was sold for almost two and a half million dollars, and a bit later it was already bought up for seven million for the collection of the famous French publisher Daniel Filipacci.
Beltrakki and his copy of the "Forest" by Max ErnstBeltrakki and his copy of the "Forest" by Max Ernst
During his career, Beltrak has forged, according to various estimates, from fifty to three hundred paintings, for the sale of which his wife Elena and her sister Jeannette helped him. In 2011, all of them together went to court: the Beltrak received six years in prison, his wife four years, her sister only a year and a half.

Pei-Sheng Qian

The Chinese artist Pei-Sheng Qian began his career in his homeland with portraits of sunflower Mao Zedong. After immigration to the United States in the early 1980s, Qian mainly traded his art on the streets of Manhattan.However, a few years later, Pei-Shen met the adventurous art dealers, which changed his life forever.
Forged Artist Pei-Sheng QianForged Artist Pei-Sheng Qian
The two spaniards, José Carlos Bergantinos Díaz and Jesus Engel, persuaded their Chinese comrade to create “previously unknown” paintings by the abstractionist and author of the most expensive painting in the history of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. Applying various methods of artificial aging, Qian deftly produced several dozen fake canvases of cult American artists who were successfully sold by Spanish art dealers.
Jackson Pollock fake Pei-Sheng QianJackson Pollock fake Pei-Sheng Qian
Many years later, the deception was revealed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to competent sources, Qian and his accomplices, using the services of front companies, earned about eighty million dollars on copies of paintings.
How to distinguish a fake from a masterpiece?
The most interesting thing is that the main character of this scam still managed to avoid punishment! While Diaz and Engel were preparing for prison terms,Together with thirty million dollars, Qian safely dissolved in the vastness of his native China, from which, as is known, they do not give their citizens into the hands of another’s justice.
At the moment, Pei-Sheng Qian is far beyond 70, and he continues to do what he likes.

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