hWorlds most famous art fakes, Famous art forgers, famous fakes, famous fakers, Fake paintings, fake signatures, fake drawings, fake Picasso, Worlds Greatest Forgers, Copyists & Fakers - Art Fraud, Art forgery- forgers, faking art - fake paintings, art crime,


The Fine Art of  Faking

The faces of the world's most famous art fakers, forgers and fraudsters.





Art fraud and forgery dates back more than 2000 years.


The Freemanart Consultancy who specialise solely in art authentication and art fraud investigations, see more FAKE Pablo Picasso drawings, prints watercolors and oil paintings than any other artists work. On average, about a dozen a week !


All about the Worlds Greatest Art Forgers, Copyists & Fakers

(Arranged here by time frame)







The Romans.
The Chinese.

14C Italian stone carvers.

Jacopo di Poggibonsi'.

Piero del Pollaiuolo.

Giovanni Cavino.

Pirro Ligorio.

Hendrik Goltzius.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger.

Peter Paul Reubens.

Wolfgang Küffner.

William Henry Ireland

Georg Paul Fischer.

Robert 'Forger' Spring.

Reinhold Vasters

Paul Désiré Trouillebert.

Denis Vrain Lucas.

Giovanni Bastianini.

Moses Shapira.

Tadeu Hasdeu.

Eugene Boban.

Charles Weisberg.

Alfred André

Émile Schuffenecker.

The Gokhman Brothers.

Israel Rouchomovsky.

Earl M. Washington.

Icilio Federico Joni.

Joseph van der Veken.

James Edward Little.

Alceo Dossena.

Jean de Sperati.

Joseph Cosey.

Han van Meegeren.

Otto Wacker.

Spanish Forger.

Chang Dai-chien.

(Zhang. Daqian)

A. Beers.

Yves Chaudron.

Edouardo, Marquis of Valfierno.

Real Lessard.

Elmyr de Hory.

Ellic Howe.

Bernhard Kruger.

Tom Keating.

Derek Hughes.

Enrico & Piero Penelli.
Lothar Malskat.

Dietrich Fey.

Elizabeth Durack.

Hilda & Leon Amiel.

Miguel Canals.
Fernand Legros.

Eric Hebborn

David Stein.

Konrad Kujau.

Jean-Pierre Schecroun

Pamela and Ivan Liberto.

Geert Jan Jansen.

John Myatt and

John Drewe.

William Blundell.

Shinichi Fujimura.
Tony Tetro.

Thomas McAnea.

Lawrence Cusack.

Robert Thwaites.
Ely Sakhai.

Mark William Hofmann.
Ethem Ulge.

Pedro Castorena Ibarra.

Brigido Lara.

Christian Goller.

Christophe D. Petyt.
Kenneth Andrew Walton,
Kenneth Fetterman.
Guy Hain.

Frank X. Kelly.

The Posin Brothers.
Leo Stevenson.

Greenhalgh family.

(The Garden Shed Gang)




The Romans.

Assiduously copied Greek sculptures, many of which were sold believed to be originals by their purchasers.






The Chinese generally!

Faking in China dates from at least the Sung Dynasty (960-1280) when the wealthy began to collect art. Forged paintings were mostly made by students seeking to imitate the masters. It still seems a common practice!

14th Century, Italian stone carvers:

The stone carvers lead the way in commercially forgery, faking works of art by imitating Greek and Roman master craftsmen and creating sculptures which could and were to be sold to the rich as authentic antiques! Much the same tale as that of their Roman counterparts.

Jacopo di Poggibonsi:  (1418-1449)  Italian


There are many contemporary critics at the University of Michigan who label Jacopo di Poggibonsi as a "master forger". This criticism stems from his purported imitation of the works of Fra Filippo Lippi which Cosimo de' Medici in about 1447 realised he had copied elements of, from an Adoration hanging in the Medici Palace. However, many artists of the time engaged in imitations of the earlier styles and after all, in translation from the French renaissance does mean, "rebirth." Clearly, many Renaissance artists not only imitated earlier forms of art, but also each other's recent works. It was standard practise.

History according to U of M has it however that Lippi was outraged and is believed to have hired paid muscle to track down di Poggibonsis' studio where more alleged copies were found.

A few days later, thirty-one year old Jacopo, is found murdered in his bed.

All in all a good story but sadly untrue.

Art History Students are advised to check this out very carefully. All may not be as it seems!


Self Portrait c.



Neapolitan painter also known as Colantuono was appreciated as an imitator of the Flemish masters and for making fake drawings by Dürer.



Piero del Pollaiuolo: (1443-1496) Italian

Made pastiches (copies) of works by artists such as Sandro Botticelli as illustrated here on the right.

His, Profile of a woman is a straight copy of Portrait of a Woman (La Bella Simonetta) and this reproduction is now housed in the Museo Poldi-Pezzoli in Milan.

Famous art forgeries



Botticelli Copy


Michelangelo di Ludovico di Lionardo di Buonarroti Simoni:
(1475-1564) Italian

It's widely believed that the worlds greatest sculptor Michaelangelo as a student, forged an "antique" marble cupid for his patron, Lorenzo de' Medici.

It is certainly recorded that he  also produced many replicas of the drawings of Italian painter Domenico Ghirlandajo (1449–1494) which were so good that on seeing them Ghirlandajo thought they were from his own hand.

      “He also copied drawings of the old masters so perfectly that his copies could not be distinguished from the originals, since he smoked and tinted the paper to give it an appearance of age. He was often able to keep the originals and return the copies in their stead.”  Vasari on Michaelangelo

Michaelangelo Self Portrait

Marcantonio Raimondi: Italian (1480c. - 1534)

Interested in German engraving, he affected copper numerous woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer.  According to Vasari he made ​​17 copies of Dürer selling them as originals.




Tommaso della Porta (the Elder): Italian (1568

Manufactured fake heads of Greeks and Romans passing them off as authentic.

Vasari wrote of him: "... He worked marble excellently, and particularly has counterfeited antique heads of marble that were sold to the ancient, and the masks has done so well that no one has compared and I have one of his hand, marble, placed in the chimney of my house at Arezzo, that every one believes the old ... "(VII, p. 550).
His only original works are the statues of Faith and Religion for the tomb of Paul IV in S. Maria sopra Minerva (now in the corridor of the sacristy)




Giovanni Cavino and Pirro Ligorio: (1500-83) Italians.

Cavino was born in Padua in 1500. He was a goldsmith  who faked medals and coins. Scholar Alessandro Bassiano often assisted. Both Cavino and Ligorio were master 16th century coin counterfeiters which is one of the earliest forms of faking and fraud.

Coins have been counterfeited since they were first introduced by King Gyges of Lydia in 670 BC and it was pretty easy to accomplish. Casts could simply be made from original coins and new ones minted!



Hendrik Goltzius: (1558 - 1617) Dutch

Hendrik Goltzius was a Dutch master printmaker, draftsman and painter and a great master craftsman who produced copies of the works of other legendary artists and proved his talent. 

According to Hollstein, he credits 388 reproductions of great works of art to the process of engraving to Golzius.



Golzius Self portrait


Pieter Brueghel the Younger:
(1564-1627) Flemish

Pieter Brueghel followed in his father´s footsteps and became best known at first as a copyist of several his father's rare works, particularly high quality copies of his father´s scenes of peasant life.

One particular landscape painting now in the Delporte Collection in Brussels, is a copy of one which his father painted in 1565. This was one of the most popular paintings by Pieter Breugel the Elder and was to be reproduced by many artists, especially by his son who copied it several times.


Breueghel Self portrait


Terenzio Terenzi - Terenzio from Urbino: Italian (1575-1621)

Was a crafty painter of the late Renaissance.

Born near Pesaro, also known as Terence from Urbino or Rondolino. He was a pupil of the painter Federico Barocci. There is an altarpiece of Terenzi in the Cathedral of St. Andrew, a baptism of Constantine in the collection of San Costanzo and an assumption of the Virgin in the Capuchin Church in Rome.
. According to Baglione, Terenzi visited Rome, where he enjoyed the protection of Cardinal Montalto, nephew of Pope Sixtus V. After he deceived different buyers, he tried it with his benefactor, impersonating his paintings to works by Raphael and rapidly fell out of favour

Baptism of Constantine by Terenzio Terenzi


Hans Hieronymus Imhoff: Flemish (1569-1629)

Grandson of Hans Imhoff Pirckheimer a humanist who was a close friend of Dürer, on the sale of some of the works he owned to an art dealer of Leiden, his diary read: "* Our Lady and Child, painted on parchment ... It was painted for my ancestor Hans Imhoff in Antwerp; I described it to Overbeck (art dealer) as a work of Lucas van Leyden;
** Our Lady, painted on wood oil, baby. My father of blessed memory meant that there was the signature of Dürer, but there are sufficient reasons to believe that Dürer had painted it. "
Minor luck met Imhoff in resale abroad, perhaps because these buyers were less inclined to recognize as genuine the works he marketed.



Luca Giordano: Italian (1634 -1705)

Also known by the nickname "Luke Fapresto" ("Luke Hurry"), given to him while he was working in the church of Santa Maria Wailing in Naples, when he painted the canvas in just two day. The nickname also stemmed from his amazing speed to copy the major painters of his era.: Bassano, Rubens, Tintoretto. But there was a prior, who did not believe he was capable of remaking a Dürer. Giordano then painted a Dürer, making him buy it for six hundred crowns. The forgery was discovered, the prior sued, but lost:




Luca Giordano portrait.

Peter Paul Reubens:
(1577-1640) Flemish

Was a pre-eminent artist of the 17th century and his position in history is sealed forever. However lesser known is the fact that he actually resorted to copying and reworking many compositions and works created by others.

Known copied works include those originally executed by Giulio Romano, 1499 to 1546. Before the Renaissance copying paintings created by others was a requisite part of any artists apprenticeship. It did not constitute forgery


Reubens Self portrait


Pietro Della Vecchia alias Muttoni: Italian (1603 - 1678)

Faked Giorgione and other old masters





Pietro della Vecchia: Socrates and two students, Prado.

Georg Friedrich Schmidt: German (1712-1775) - Alias: Georg Fridrich Šmidt

Around 1639, the great Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn drew an old bearded man in a flat cap. Perhaps distracted by other projects, Rembrandt left about 80 percent of the image empty, except for a few lines indicating how the final printed version would continue. A century after his death, in 1669, a printer and engraver named Georg Friedrich Schmidt, filled the empty spaces in the style of Rembrandt and made a series of prints that unsuspecting buyers could purchase as genuine.

The two versions of the etching, the unfinished handmade by the master and completed one by the Schmidt: are displayed side by side in the Detroit Institute of Arts.





Anton Raphael Mengs: German (1728-1779)

The great art historian and former supporter of Neoclassicism Winchelman writes in 1764, in his "History of Arts and Design"... it came to light one day in September 1760 ... a painting that obscured all of the Herculaneums known paintings "

Anton Raphael Mengs, was one of the greatest painters of the Neoclassical period but who turned his hand to illicit forgery.
He created a freesco Jupiter Kissing Ganymede, with Giovanni Casanova (Giacomo's brother) in 1758. An imitation of an ancient Roman fresco, it was created to fool archeologist and art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann, for his enthusiasm for homosexual love and themes, who regarded it as an original. Now in the Palazzo Corsini, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome.
In 1779 on his deathbed, Mengs confessed that the famous Ganymede was his doing.







Giuseppe Guerra, Italian (XVIII century)


Giuseppe Guerra, a minor painter in Rome, faked and sold
hundreds of counterfeit paintings to kings, cardinals, and collectors who considered
themselves learned devotees of the antiques world & believing they were originals from Pompei.






False Pompeian painting
Giuseppe Guerra


William Sykes English 18 c

The writer Horace Walpole described him as a known forger.
In 1722 he convinced the Duke of Devonshire to buy a fake van Eyck, due to an inscription, which he had created, on the back of the painting.
The work involved was titled "Coronation of S.Romold Malines" (image at right) and is now displayed in the National Gallery of Ireland.



Wolfgang Küffner: (1760-1817) German

Faked  Albrecht Dürer. In 1799, a self portrait by Albrecht Dürer from the Nuremberg Town Hall was loaned to Wolfgang Küffner. The painter successfully made a copy of the original and returned the fake in place of the original.  On the right is an image of the Kuffner fake of 1799 after Durers self portrait.



Fake Durer Portrait



William Henry Ireland: (C 1775) British Author of the Shakespeare Papers:


William Henry Ireland was the creator of many forged documents, miscellaneous papers and legal instruments believed to be William Shakespeare memorabilia.
(As laterly published as original and later by his father William Henry.)

He was the least likely to become a literary master forger and made nothing of himself at school. His first venture into forgery came after William saw how obsessed his father was at owning original Shakespeare memorabilia. This was on a trip to Stratford to collect material for Samuel's forthcoming publication, Picturesque views on the Upper, or Warwickshire Avon.

The first Shakespeare forgery he made was modest. A lease agreement for a property in Blackfriars and one closely based on one of the few genuine manuscripts available at the time bearing Shakespeare's legitimate signature. After this though, the forgeries followed thick and fast and he became more and more proficient in their execution. As his father's acceptance of them was so rewarding, they were soon followed by others.

William Henry became more confident and ambitious, fabricating manuscripts and letters from and to Shakespeare even including a love letter to Anne Hathaway with an enclosed lock of her hair !!!!

William even became an art faker, using a coloured drawing he had bought from a local antique dealer, making it into a representation of Shakespeare performing the part of Bassanio from The merchant of Venice, complete with signature.  His father was overjoyed at all the finds and combined them into a master literary work, Miscellaneous papers and legal instruments under the hand and seal of William Shakespeare, which was published over the Christmas holiday period of 1795-1796.

With scholarly challenges as to the authenticity of these documents and drawings ensuing, finally and seeing that the game was up, William Henry confessed the forgeries to his father. But his father never believed him and died in 1800 fully convinced that the documents were real.


Shakespeare Forgery


Johann Georg Paul Fischer: (1786-1875) German

Court painter and restorer to the Duke of Bavaria who 'modernised' old master works such as those by Albrecht Dürer to be more in keeping with the then acceptable idiom. Of note, the Paumgartner family altarpiece (now in the Alte Pinakithek, Munich) Fischer reworked the side panel which was painted by Albrecht Dürer during the the Northern Renaissance period between about 1498 and 1504. Rather than just restoring the work, he obliterated the saint’s attributes, substituting a horse and landscape for the dark ground that Durer had painted. He then added a helmet on the knight’s cap, which was Fischer making use of other Dürer motives. (See right)

Johann was the son of an engraver and originally a pupil of German portraitist Heinrich Ramberg, to whom he apprenticed and assisted in his portrait work. Coming to England in about 1810, he worked mainly in London and executed portraits of the English aristocracy and nobles, including Queen Victoria and Queen Charlotte. Best known now for his portrait miniatures.







Altered Durer Panel


Wolfgang Franz Rawsmell (or Rohrich): German (1787-1834)

Was a German painter, born in Nuremberg where he died. He is most famous as forger who as a painter iImitated Lucas Cranach and Dürer.
He studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Monaco of Bavaria, where, in 1809, he registered under the name of Rorich. With the sale of many fakes inspired by ancient German masters, including numerous copies, apparently about thirty, one to the the Duchess Sophie of Saxony in the style of Cranach, he seems to have earned 1,500 guilders while still a student at the Academy.





Wolfgang Franz Rohrich:
Charles V of Holland and her mother Joan the Mad.

Robert 'Forger' Spring:  (1813- 1876) British


Robert Spring  was one of the first and most successful commercial autograph forgers of all time.

Born in England in 1813 he immigrated to the USA in 1858 to open a bookshop in Philadelphia. His favourites and particular specialism of autograph forgery was to copy the signatures of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Horatio Nelson. Recreating them convincingly on the fly leaves of old books of which he had plentiful supply!

In order to market his product in the USA and Britain, he cleverly invented a new character in the guise of a respectable maidenly lady he called Miss Fanny Jackson whose fake identity was that of the only daughter of General '"Stonewall" Jackson and convincingly to whom most of the American documents were related.

As she offloaded her vast collection of antiquated documents and letters onto the market, seemingly to cope with financial difficulties, Spring worked full time to keep up with the demand!

From Martin Luther to Lincoln, believable letters, notes and even blank cheques flowed from his pen.

Many times he had brushes with the law and was finally arrested in 1858 for receiving money under false pretences. He jumped bail and fled to Canada where he continued to sell his historical documents pre aged with coffee grounds!


In 1869, having foolishly returned to America, he was arrested in Philadelphia, confessed to his crimes and imprisoned. He died a poor man in a charity hospital in 1876.



Ben and Jerry!

Constantine Simonidis: Greek (1820-1890?)

Master forger of ancient documents and manuscripts

The historian Jacob Burckhardt 1882 wrote that Simonidis belonged to the category of counterfeiters driven by an irresistible impulse, by an admirable virtuosity than by lust for money. He died poor.




Reinhold Vasters:  (1827-1909) German

Vasters was a German master goldsmith and restorer who worked in Aachen from 1853 to 1890.

It is widely believed that he was responsible and the maker of many forgeries, attributed as priceless Renaissance jewellery.

1n 1979, more than 1,000 workshop drawings by Vasters were discovered in the archives of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and expert examination showed that these were fake pieces that had been sold to collections as Renaissance jewellery. Amongst the fakes he is believed to have created are; The Rospigliosi Cup sometimes referred to as the Cellini Cup and attributed to Jacop Billivert. The St. Hubert Tazza and a gold and emerald dragon pendant, thought to have been made in Spain at the end of the 16th century sold to the Rothchilds.






Paul Désiré Trouillebert: (1829-1900) French

Was a fine Barbizon painter in his own right but he also was a copyist and imitator of Corot as you will see from the image on the right. When he was first exposed to Corot’s work, Trouillebert took a very keen interest in it and immersed himself in emulating his techniques. He was so similar to Corot that if his signatures were erased and Corots forged added, enormous value was added to the work.

All in all, the Corot fakes issue was compounded by Camile Corot himself, as he signed many reproduced works by other artists when asked simply because he felt honoured to be copied! 

A Trouillebert Corot




Denis Vrain Lucas: ( C 1830) French


Was the most blatant French contemporary autograph forger. Who executed forgeries from Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Rabelais and  Louis XIV

Its recorded that within an eight year career, he  produced and sold no less than 27,000 autographed manuscripts including a letter from Judas Iscariot to Mary Magdalene.

His downfall: composing a letter from Cleopatra to Julius Caesar but in modern French!





Giovanni Bastianini: (1830-1868) Italian

Giovanni Bastianini, produced numerous neo-Renaissance works, especially busts and bas-reliefs in the style of Donatello, Verrocchio, Mino de Fiesole and other Italian Old Masters. Most of which were sold as genuine pieces to such noted museums as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Louvre.

Faker or just a copyist?  You decide.

Right: Giovanni Bastianini: Buste de femme"Aloysa Strozi"






Egisto Rossi: Italian (1824-1899)
Sculptor and designer student of Luigi Bartolini, during his career he falsified the drawings of the artists of his time, including Antonio Canova .




Peter and Henry Pinelli: Italian (XIX century)

Were skilled stonemasons, who beautifully reproduced the Etruscan sarcophagus of Cerveteri, dated to 500 BC which they said they had found within the Necropolis. This was bought at a high price by the British Museum in London and was admired for years in the room entiurely dedicated to it, until it was discovered that the splendid archaeological find was actually false and, therefore, was hastily relegated and forgotten in the basement of the museum.
Henry, was a restorer from the Louvre. One day in 1893, casually informed the experts of the British Museum, an Egyptian sarcophagus exhibited in the museum's collection, had been made by him and his brother.
They had flooded the market with great success with Italian masterpieces of day.



False sarcophagus of Cerveteri

Moses Shapira: 1830-1884

Jerusalem antiquities dealer and purveyor of fake biblical artifacts such as fake scrolls and forged Hebrew scripts. One isue in particular concerned a sheepskin manuscript which was supposed to have come from the Moabite hills to the East of the Red sea. He tried to convince the world that it was an early variation of the Book of Deuteronomy that dated from around the 9th century B.C., the era of Moses. Accused of many forgeries in his life and pursued by scandal, he shot himself in the Hotel Bloemendaal in Rotterdam on March 9, 1884.






Tadeu Hasdeu
Bogdan Petriceicu-Hasdeu
(1836-1907) (Pseud) Romanian

A Romanian scholar and archivist who was a pioneer in Romanian language and historical studies but was likely responsible for the so-called 'Dacian' or 'Sinaia' lead plates. These were gibberish texts, probably manufactured to substantiate Romanian cultural nationalism in the 1880s.
Legend has it that the lead plates are in fact copies made at the Nail Factory of Sinaia in about 1875 from the originals, which were made out of gold.
They first appeared when the 200 lead plates were discovered in the archive warehouse of the Bucharest Museum of Antiquities in the late 19th century. Up to now, they have been widely ignored and considered as fakes because they looked so new, not showing any traces of corrosion.
Renewed interest in the plates has been shown however by experts more than a century later.

  For more information see: Sorin Olteanu's Thraco-Daco-Moesian Languages Project (TDML)

Dacian lead Plates fakes produced by Hasdeu?





Tadeu Hasdeu

Eugene Boban:  (C1840) French

Eugene Boban was a French collector of pre-Columbian artefacts. Appointed archaeologist to the court of Maximilian and a successful antiques dealer who latterly ran a lucrative business in Mexico City, it is believed between 1862 and 1880. He was sent to Mexico by Napoleon III in 1860 to head a scientific commission to collect works of art which were to be exhibited in 1867 at the Trocadero Museum. Napoleon's idea, perhaps copy Napoleon 1st success in an attempt to emulate his earlier explorations in Egypt?

Experts widely believe that Boban may well have had a part in the forgery itself, let alone the deception of the British Museum in relation to their 'Aztec' rock crystal skull which was proven to be a fake after it was sold to them by Tiffany's in 1897 and another at Paris' Musée de l'Homme also suspect.

An investigation carried out by archivist, Jane Walsh at the Smithsonian in 1992, alleged that documents she unearthed reveal that it was Boban who had acquired the skull that were eventually sold to Tiffany's in 1897. She also uncovered evidence that it was Boban who some years earlier tried to sell the same skull to the Smithsonian themselves and that it was Boban himself  who sold a similar crystal skull to a collector who later donated it to the Musée de l'Homme in Paris.

 It is believed that Boban likely acquired the skulls from sources in Germany where large quantities of Brazilian quartz crystal were shipped in the early nineteenth century.

As to the mystery surrounding the crystal sculls, it is said that "he who reveals the secret will die!"



Eugene Boban C 1860

"Baron" Charles Weisberg (D 1945) American

Forged original letters along with surveys of mount Washington with signatures of the presidents and various celebrities.

Served two terms in prison.






Alfred André:  (D 1919) French

A Parisian goldsmith and restorer who worked for a time for the Rothschild family.

In 1994 Rudolph Distelberger, an Austrian museum curator, became suspicious of jewellery that had been given to the National Gallery of Washington by the American millionaire Peter Widener and his subsequent research lead him to the Andre workshops. There, Distelberger found drawers full of plaster casts and wax models of his fakes.

At Sotheby's Rothschild sale in 2003, were three of André's fakes all with their history clearly marked. "Not only was André expertly restoring original Renaissance pieces," says the catalogue. "He was also creating examples in the Renaissance manner to satisfy the high demand among the collectors of the period.'






Émile Schuffenecker: (1851-1934) French

Implicated with Wacker in the van Gogh fakes affair.

One independent theory proposed by Ben Landais a Frenchman based in the Netherlands and his colleague Antonio de Robertis, which has caused considerable controversy in the art world. It concerns the Yasuda "Sunflowers" painted by Vincent van Gogh, in  Arles in 1889 and suggests that it is a fake.
In a booklet published by Mr Landais, he claims that the picture is not by Van Gogh at all but is in fact a fake and the creation of Emile Schuffenecker, its owner, who exhibited it at Bernheim in June of 1901.

It has never been established whether he actually produced any forgeries at all?





Schuffenecker Self portrait



The Gokhman Brothers &  Israel Rouchomovsky (1860-1934) Russian.     The unknowing faker.

Rouchomovsky was a brilliant Jewish goldsmith who was born in Mozyr, a small town near Minsk in Russia.
His claim to infamy is that he unwittingly created an exquisite gold artifact which was sold as an ancient Scythian - Greek tiara known better as the “Tiara of Saitapharnes” to the Louvre Museum in Paris but apparently without his knowledge. Experts there dated it to the third century B.C.!

In fact, the beautiful work, a tiara, bearing a Greek dedication in the form of a convincing inscription which confirmed it in their eyes as an ancient artifact, was actually a great deal younger.

It came to light that it had been created in Odessa in Russia only two years earlier in 1880 after a commission to the young Rouchomovsky by shady dealers known as the Gokhman brothers. 

After paying for it, the Gokhman brothers immediately took the tiara to Paris, where it was shown to the curators at the Louvre. Once there the Gokhmans cleverly let it slip that they were on their way to sell their priceless Greek find to the British Museum. After that, it didn’t take long for the officials to get all hot and bothered, promptly purchasing the crown for a huge amount of money, some 200,000 gold francs!


It was only much later when German archeologist Rudolf Furtwanglerfirst labelled it as a forgery, that eyebrows were raised and others chipped in. It only took the Louvre seven years to announce to the public that the tiara was indeed a fake and they promptly removed it from public view!

Not wanting to be beaten, the Louvre once again bought artifacts which they didn't know emanated from the Gokhman shop in Ochakov. Here at the shop, it transpired that L Gokhman would sketch out artifact orders which would magically become treasures in silver and gold and pass the plans to jewellers and craftsmen to manufacture. They operated an extensive and very successful network of agents with one, Anyuta, a woman from Peroutino, a village on the site of the ancient city of Olvia, who would make regular visits to museums, offering up highly plausible stories of how the treasures were discovered buried and exhumed from a grave or turning up in excavations and so on!

So once again, this time in 1939, the Louvre bought another Scythian artifact in the form of a Golden horn in the likeness of a boars head!

Said E R Stern, Director of the Archaelogical Museum in Odessa; "The shop would forge everything!










Scythian artifact

Earl M. Washington: (1862-1952) African-American

Print forger and expert woodcut artist who it's alledged, used the designs of other artists to create new engraved blocks which would turn up as finds.

Ken Martens who is an attorney and print collector from Canada believes that the prints of Earl M. Washington have no historical significance but are rather more likely the production of a young man in Michigan who is trying to deceive buyers that the prints were produced in the early part of the 20C by his great grandfather!





Earl M. Washington



Icilio Federico Joni: (1866-1946) Italian

Known as the prince of Sienese fakers. He specialized in Renaissance and Old Master paintings. Joni was so good that Old Master experts have called him one of the art world’s most spectacularly inventive forgers.

Much of his success as a forger was due to the fact that he imitated either the works of lesser painters such as Sano di Pietro or the undistinguished works of more famous artists, which could deceive even the best connoisseur. It is widely believed that he was responsible for a Madonna and Child with Angels supposedly by Sano di Pietro in the Cleveland Museum of Art collection (Exposed in 1948), a Triptych in the Courtauld Institute Gallery and a Madonna & Child, Saint Maria Maddalena and Saint Sebastiano in the style of Neroccio di Bartolomeo Landi in the Lehman Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.






Federico Joni

Reuben Lyon of Holborn - Charles Twinam: English (nineteenth century)

 In 1898, the Goldsmiths' Company became aware that fake silverware was being traded by Reuben Lyon of Holborn. When police raided his premises, over 300 pieces were seized and Lyon was fined £3000.
On April 11 the following year at The Old Bailey, London, Charles Twinam, a silversmith of Latham Street, Holloway, was found guilty of supplying the fakes and sentenced to five years' penal servitude.
Police had raided his house to find a large collection of punches with the initials of various 18th century silversmiths, including George Smith, John Manby and William Shaw amongst others, along with items of modern silver punched with these marks. Despite the evidence, Twinam pleaded not guilty and claimed that the parcel of punches had been left with him by a "Devonshire man" 14 years earlier.
Following the trial, the confiscated goods were melted down and the resulting bullion used to cover costs. However, some of these high-quality fakes may still be undiscovered today.
Credit ATG




Umberto Giunti: Italian (1886-1970)

  Forger associated with the Madonna of the Veil, bought expensively by Lord Lee of Fareham in 1930 and bequeathed to the Courtauld Institute in 1947. It was accepted by London experts in the 1930s as a masterpiece by Botticelli, but the feeling that something was wrong about it grew.
Kenneth Clark said the Madonna had ‘something of the silent cinema star about her’ (he mentioned Jean Harlow), and the too full lips, the baby-doll look, now seem very un-Botticelli: the picture refuses to fit the template. The models and film stars that define our current paradigm of beauty are not much like Jean Harlow; if they were, the feeling that something is wrong would perhaps not be so strong. She is now attributed to Umberto Giunti (1886-1970), a lesson for art-history students in both how skilful and how careless forgers can be.
We are sure she is not who she says she is because the painter used a number of pigments not available before the 19th century; moreover, damage that seems to have been done by time is the result of intentional attack, and stress marks around holes in the wooden panel suggest that they were made by a drill not a worm.




Fulvio Corsini: Italian (1874 - 1938)

A forger used by the Italian government, which commissioned the statues "in the style of" to fill the gaps in the facades of churches and monuments.



Pavel Jerdanowitck, alias Paul Jordan Smith: American (1885-1971)

A mysterious Russian-born painter who launched a hoax art movement called ‘Disumbrationism’ in 1924.

 Annoyed that art critics had rubbished his wifes efforts in an art exhibition, Jordan-Smith sought revenge by styling himself as "Pavel Jerdanowitch", a variation on his own name and entering a blurry, badly painted picture of a Pacific islander woman brandishing a banana skin, under the title "Exaltation". He made a suitably dark and brooding photograph of himself as Jerdanowitch and submitted the work to the same jury as the representative of the new school, "Disumbrationism". He explained "Exaltation" as a symbol of "breaking the shackles of womanhood” To his dismay, if not to his surprise, the Disumbrationist daub won praise from the critics who had belittled his wife's more realistic still life painting.
More fake art movement Disumbrationist paintings followed: a composition of zig-zag lines and eyeballs he called "Illumination" then a garish picture of a black woman doing laundry which he called "Aspiration" and which a critic praised as "a delightful jumble of Gauguin, Pop Hart and Negro minstrelsy, with a lot of Jerdanowitch individuality"; "Gination", an ugly, lopsided portrait and a painting named "Adoration", of a woman worshipping an immense phallic idol, which was exhibited in 1927.
The same year, Jordan-Smith confessed to the Los Angles Times that the Disumbrationist paintings were meant as a spoof.




Oxan Aslanian: the "Master of Berlin; German (1887-1968)

Oxan Aslanian was a 20th century forger of Egyptian art. Born in Green in 1887, he emigrated to Syria and Egypt, and then eventually went to Germany where he opened an antique shop in Berlin. In his work as a forger, he concentrated on the Amarna Period. His extraordinarily high-quality products satisfied the demand of many eminent collections and museums in Europe, which gave him his nickname as the "Master of Berlin." He created some exceptional fakes, which sometimes still deceive experts. Aslanian died at the age of 80 in Munich.



Joseph van der Veken: (1872 - 1964)  Belgian

Joseph van der Veken was the official art restorer to the Royal Museums in Belgium and considered to be one of the forefathers of restoration of old masters in Belgium. He is now better associated with a fake painting scam! The production of 'Mary Magdalen' that had been long attributed to the Flemish artist Hans Memling (1430-1494) Van der Valken was also accused of faking many other Flemish Primitives during his lifetime and it was later to be proven that indeed the Memling was a fabrication, a fake created in the 1920s.

According to Christina Ceulemans who was a department head of the Royal Institute for the Study and Conservation of Belgium's Artistic Heritage, like Van Meegeren, van der Valken also sold a painting, the Mary Magdalen panel, to Herman Goering during the second world war, after which it disappeared.

Like a bad penny, it turned up again in 2004, when a Scandinavian man took the picture in to be appraised. Ceulemans said that Van der Veken, had worked creating commissioned copies of art and that in this case he had scraped an authentic 15th century panel down and painted his own old master, complete with craquelure.

Ironically, van der Valken finally got his own posthumous exhibition, "Fake / Not Fake: Restorations, Reconstructions, Forgeries," at the Groeninge Museum in Bruges, Belgium.




Joseph van der Veken

James Edward Little: (1876-1953) British


An antiques dealer and restorer who worked and lived in Torquay on Devons' south coast where he specialised in selling ethnographic material and Polynesian artifacts and although he'd never set foot in the South Pacific in his life. His specialism was forging and selling Maori artefacts.

His modus operandi was to place advertisements in the Exchange and Mart newspaper and soon had a string of serious collectors as clients. Starting up in the process, one of Britains first antiques mail order businesses.

In his career, Little fooled museum directors, scholars and art collectors across the world. All bought into the idea that his forged or stolen Polynesian artefacts and their associated documentation were real.

Little's best work was often direct copies of authentic Maori artefacts, instruments, curiosities and trinkets. His master plan was to steal artefacts from museums, copy the pieces accurately, replace them with fakes and sell the originals on. As a master thief however, he was next to useless and he bungled many criminal attempts.

In 1915 he stole a decorated Maori wooden box from a Wiltshire museum, substituting the original for one of his fakes. But it was noticed.

Little was tracked down by police having signed the visitors' book at the museum with a false name in - Another Little bungle as he was the only visitor at the museum in three days!

He was arrested and sent to prison for six months, serving more time up and into the 1930's for attempted theft from various museums and auction houses. Even so,  he was never actually convicted of forgery.





Alceo Dossena: (1878-1937) Italian

Dossena didn't set out to copy sculptures but just happened to be so adept at using the techniques of the Greek and Renaissance sculptors that many of his works were bought by unknowing collectors and museum curators who were convinced that they were authentic!

This was principally down to his dealer Alfredo Fasoli who marketed them as priceless antiquities.

Dossena successfully defended himself at his trial and was acquitted of the charges set against him claiming that he'd been unaware that his dealer was selling his work under false pretences.





Alceo Dossena


Jean Charles Millet: French (1892-1944)

Grandson of the painter Jean-François Millet, he took advantage of the family name and a stencil that Jean-François had made ​​for the signature of his paintings. Employing a deaf painter named Paul Cazot who copied more than 40 oil and two hundred drawings purportedly by his grandfather.
Accused of forgery, Millet defended himself in court saying he had sold the fakes only to American and British, collectors, claiming that he could not be blamed for their ignorance.
In June 1930 he was sentenced to a year in prison for fraud and issuing a bad cheque by the Criminal Court of Melun in France.
In 1935, he was sentenced by the Criminal Court of Fontainebleau to a further six months in prison and received a fine of five hundred francs for fproducing orged signatures and breach of trust, with the sentence upheld by the Court of Appeal of Paris in 1936.
He was imprisoned by the Germans during the war at Royallieu Compiègne (Oise), and died in the Dachau concentration camp.







Jean de Sperati: (1884-1957) French   Known as: The King of Counterfeits and as the Rubens of Philately.

Sperati was the master forger born in Italy but spending most of his life in France.

He was noted as the faker of pre-1920 Australian stamps which even the authenticators believed to be authentic. This included the red 1913 - £2 stamp and the Hong Kong olive 1865 - 96 cent stamp.
Like many before him and indeed after him, he considered himself to be an artist and not a counterfeiter.

In 1942, Sperati came into conflict with the law when French customs officials seized a shipment of German stamps and found some to be forgeries. Sperati claimed that they were not forgeries but simply copies.

It didn't wash and he got a year for his trouble and was fined 310,000 francs for his criminal intentions.

Sperati is best known in Australia for his excellent 1913 £2 Kangaroo stamp forgeries of which dozens are now in collector hands.  Today, the stamp forgeries of Jean de Sperati are considered to be some of the best of the world and ore selling at Sotheby's and Christies, legitimately as fakes, for thousands of pounds.




Jean de Sperati

Joseph Cosey  aka   Martin Coneely: (1887-1950) American

Cosey stole a Benjamin Franklin document from the Library of Congress in the 1930's which began his career as an autograph forger and copyist of presidential handwriting.





Han van Meegeren (1889-1947) Dutch

Han van Meegeren, was charged with having sold a Dutch national treasure in the form of a Vermeer painting which later turned out to be a fake, to German military leader Hermann Goering. Van Meegeren defended himself in court by demonstrating that he had painted the Vermeer masterpiece himself.
He also brilliantly forged paintings of some of the world's most famous artists including; Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch and Gerard Peter Borch. His story is well documented.




Han van Meegeren


Otto Wacker: (1898-1976) German

Notorious German art dealer and Berlin cabaret performer and the faker of at least 33 unknown Vincent van Gogh canvases that were supposedly painted 35 years before they were found.

In 1932 Wacker was charged with fraud and after an appeal, was sentenced to 19 months in prison.




Otto Wacker


Giorgio De Chirico: Italian (1888 - 1970)

The master, who died in Rome in recent years was not too fussy in authenticating works of his vast production. Giorgio de Chirico was known to paint exact copies of some of his earlier works, backdate them, and put them on the market which caused considerable litigation from collectors who then sued when they realized their De Chirico was not an original from his pre-World-War-I heyday
The paintings of Giorgio de Chirico, according to the first wife Raissa Gourevich, would split (as told by Luisa Spagnoli, into those which were noted in 1971 in the book "Long life of Giorgio de Chirico" into four distinct categories: Authentic, almost true, false and almost fake.

"Authentic", are all the pictures painted by the master.
"False", those painted by counterfeiters operating in Italy and in France and also in America.
"Most authentic" all the paintings from him but the same, and those able to be sold it as dating back to 'metaphysical', and re signed by adding a false date (for example, the paintings in the Fifties but dated 1913).
And "Most false" all the paintings from some "negro ', with the signature of the master notarized at his request.



The Spanish Forger: Active late 19th early 20 C.

So called unidentified forger responsible for producing a vast number of forgeries of medieval miniatures.






Chang Dai-chien / Zhang Daqian: (1899-1983) Chinese

Regarded by many art experts as one of the most gifted master forgers of the twentieth century and was renowned for being a professional forger but also as a dealer used to sell genuine paintings.
When he noticed that his buyers couldn't tell the difference he turned to fakes! Chang produced outstanding works reminiscent of the Ming master Shitao, as well as controversial imitations often regarded as forgeries during the early part of his career.






Zhang Daqian


A. Beers. (19C) Belgian

A. Beers, was a  faker of fakes. A 19th-century Belgian artist who according to art historian Hans Tietze;  "because Beers didn’t have time to fill all his commissions, he had inferior artists make copies of his paintings. When they were well done he signed them himself. Tietze wrote. When they were not, he had the copyists sign them with his name for him, thus, if they aroused suspicion, he could disown them.

By this method, Beers himself helped to forge genuine and even fake A. Beers paintings!





Howitt-Bernard Lodge  aka D S Windle: English (XX century)

In 1936 Windle has entered a painting titled "Abstract painting of a Woman" in the International Surrealist Exhibition in London. The work was one of the most discussed and admired paintings in the exhibition. The truth was : D S Windle ("De Swindle") was actually Howitt-Bernard Lodge , a portrait painter who hated surrealist art. Has put together "a phantasmagoria of paint stains, beads, a cigarette butt, Christmas tinsel, pieces of hair and a sponge" because he wanted to create "the worst possible mess." "One of the most warped and disgusting I've ever seen” he said.
What happened was the modernists remained indifferent to his confession, accepting the work Howitt Lodge created as a genuine work of surrealist art.
"He may think it is a hoax," they commented "but he is an artist who unconsciously may be a surrealist.
Are not we all?"




Yves Chaudron: (C 1900) French

Was reputed to be one of the most gifted counterfeiter in the art world.  A respected conservator but really a master forger, from his studio in the Bohemian artist district, Montmarte, Chaudron would copy great paintings which had been lost or stolen, which his collaborator the Edouardo Marquis of Valfierno would then sell on to collectors.

He was most notoriously responsible for copying da Vincis La Gioconda in the famous 1911 Mona Lisa painting theft from the Louvre.







Renato Peretti, Italian - aka "Reni" (twentieth century)

Specialised in the reproduction of De Chirico’s baroque style but died before the scandal that involved Umberto Lombardi, another Florentine forger.

Between 1954 and 1976, Renato Peretti worked as one of the most skilled forgers of Giorgio de Chirico. Peretti himself admitted to having produced more than a thousand forgeries of paintings by different artists, and in particular, of many works by de Chirico, who was not only his favourite artist, but his works were also the most valuable and the easiest to sell.

 At home in Lombardi in Florence in 1983 were found dozens of paintings in the style of De Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, De Pisis and Carrà, and Casorati, along with authentic paintings in the trust of De Chirico, plus a notary seal, some parchments and transparencies that reflected the paintings and the signature of the master, diaries with details of paintings to be finished or already finished.
He was among the most famous counterfeiters in the '70s; and unscrupulous dealers paid him partly in cash and partly in cocaine. Peretti boasted of his ability to forge the father of metaphysical painting in an interview with the Sunday Courier, who dedicated a 1978 cover to him.

According to the De Chirico archive’s website, several paintings by De Chirico, which Peretti said were his fakes, are “still in circulation today” and are regularly sold by auction houses as authentic works.






Oscar Dominguez: Spanish (1906-1957)

Historically established as one of the first forgers of Giorgio De Chirico were Mario Girardon - who emigrated to the USA - and the Spanish surrealist painter Oscar Dominguez a friend of Picasso- who committed suicide - He produced about thirty false works which circulated in France after the war. It was in June of '46 and at the Galerie Allard in Paris during a major exhibition of De Chirico - of 28 paintings on display 20 were identified as fake Dominguez, all of metaphysical subjects.



Edouardo Marquis of Valfierno: (C 1900) Argentinian

Was a small-time South American conman from Argentina who made his living by scamming art collectors. Valfierno sold fake Spanish masters, such as Bartolome' Murillo, in Buenos Aires and was the brains behind the Mona Lisa Art theft.





Real Lessard: (C 1900) Canadian

Painter and dealer and part of the forgery partnership with Elmyr de Hory.

He worked for an agent called Fernand Legros who was selling de Hory's forged art production along with fake certificates of authenticity.







Real Lessard:


Elmyr de Hory aka Elemér Albert Hoffmann: (1906-1976) Hungarian

Hungarian art forger who lived on the island of Ibiza. He made hundreds of art forgeries and duped collectors with his Picassos, Modiglianis and Matisses but also painted works signed Van Dongen.

The Dutch artist himself, towards the end of his life and in need of money, is said to have endorsed more than once the validity of such de Hory fakes which were sold on as original by Fernand Legros. 

In the 1950s and 1960s claiming to have sold over a thousand works in his career, de Hory was featured with Clifford Irving in Orson Welles' documentary, F for Fake, but was never successfully convicted of the crime of forgery or fraud.

Following his death, de Hory's paintings have since became very valuable. His paintings now becoming so popular that even forgeries of his forgeries have appeared on the market!






Elmyr de Hory

Umberto Lombardi


In 1976, police raided the apartment of Florenitinan artist Lombardi which they said was ‘a laboratory for forging paintings’. In all, 741 fake canvasses were seized claiming to be by prominent Italian artists.
Umberto Lombardi, then 51, was arrested and later jailed for creating fake artworks.



Ellic Howe: aka. "Armin Hull" (1910-1991) British


Armin Hull, was the non-de-plume of Eric Howe and it was Howe who became the man who was put in charge of Britain's forgery and counterfeit operation during World War Two with SOE (the Special Operations Executive)

As a younger man in the 30's, he had made a special study of German typography and printing techniques and had been a professional printer before the war. As an expert, he was made responsible therefore for espionage forgeries and propaganda parodies of postage stamps.This includes the forgery of  German ration cards, orders and letters.  The scale of the operation was massive.

As the Daily Express’s chief foreign correspondent Sefton Delmer wrote later:

"....it became necessary for us to forge signatures and handwriting. Once we needed to forge a letter written by one of Goebbels's astrologers. Hull produced the perfect forgery within three days."
Waterlows in Dunstable was where forged documents for secret agents were printed in the UK and the printing itself took place at local newspaper presses in Luton.

Bernhard Kruger:

Howes German counterpart was: SS Major Bernhard Kruger and Kruger's forgers were based in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp located near Oranienburg bei Berlin.


Surviving the war, Howe went on to write many books



s on typography, astrology and the occult.


Ellic Howe

Major Bernhard Kruger

Pio and Alfonso Ricardi: Italian (XX century)


 The Etruscan terracotta warriors are three statues that recall the work of the ancient Etruscans, but are actually fakes.
The statues, created by the brothers Pio and Alfonso Riccardi and three of their six children, with the help of the sculptor Alfredo Fioravanti, were purchased by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art between 1915 and 1921.
The statues were exhibited together in 1933. In subsequent years, many historians, especially in Italy, suggested that they could be false, but there was no forensic evidence to support the charges.
An expert later decided these were authentic pieces.

In 1960, chemical testing of enamels showed the presence of manganese, an ingredient that the Etruscans had never used. The museum was not convinced until the facts confirmed by Alfredo Fioravanti, when on January 5, 1961, he entered the US consulate in Rome and signed a confession. The counterfeiters had the skills he siad - and a very large oven needed to achieve the results.
So they produced fragments, later "discovered" and sold, then re-assembled ("restored") then resold. As proof of the deed, Fioravanti showed an inch section of an old warrior. He had kept it as a souvenir.
On 15 February, the Metropolitan Museum finally announced that the statues were fake.









Tom Keating: (1917-1984) British

Thomas Patrick Keating, was a true cockney born in Lewisham. He made a particular speciality out of producing forged water-colours by Samuel Palmer and fine oil paintings by Dutch, Flemish, English and French old masters. The infamous yet loveable British rogue was a remarkable forger who certainly showed up all the experts in a forgery career which landed him in jail charged for conspiracy to defraud!

Born into a poor family, he failed to achieve any real fame in the art world and felt himself shunned and just like many artists before and indeed after him, he turned to faking to prove his talent. This was likely to get his own back on society as Keating saw the art world and in particular the gallery system as utterly rotten.

As he himself wrote;

"avant-garde fashion, with critics and dealers often conniving to line their own pockets at the expense both of naive collectors and impoverished artists".

Tom Keating effectively avenged himself by producing forgeries of all sorts in a prolfic and remarkable career. Oil paintings, water colours and drawings flowed out of his studio, all which were certified as genuine works by artists such as Gainsborough, Renoir, Van Dongen, Degas, Fragonard, Boucher, Modigliani and of course Samuel Palmer. One clear and important point that was missed was that Keating planted "time bombs" in all his pictures, Often writing snide or blatantly rude comments in lead white on the canvas before he started the painting, knowing full well that if the works were examined properly in the first place and x rayed, they'd show up!

Not satisfied with just that, he would always plant obvious flaws within the compositions and often used materials which out dated the original time frame of the fake he'd painted by hundreds of years.

Admitting to painting over 200 Kornelius Kreighof pastiches which are still floating around Canada somewhere today, he was prolific to say the least and of his John Constables and other fine reproductions and there is only an guestimate of what is out there!

He is reported to forged over 2,000 paintings by something like 100 artists,

One remarkable piece was the Haywain - which he painted backwards!

Ironically, after confessing in 1976, he was to star in his own major television program on Channel 4 in the UK on how to paint like the masters!





Tom Keating


Derek Hughes: (1925 -2003) British

A gentleman British master of faking English Naive and Provincial School primitives usually executed on timber panels and old canvas pot boilers which he cleaned off with thinners. His supplies of wood, canvasses and particularly old paint, were bought in regularly from local auctioneers in Cornwall.
Looe, Lostwithiel and Par were his own favourite haunts before he contracted Parkinsons and couldn't get around much but he had a regular team of friends supplying him with product on which to paint.

He principally concentrated on the production of fake animal art. Old Gloucestershire spot pigs, prize bulls and sheep, but very successfully reproduced many works purportedly by Eugene Boudin.

He lived, taught painting and worked vociferously from a studio on the Espanade in Fowey where many of the fake paintings were exhibited in his bay window for holidaymakers to see.

Derek colluded with the local baker who happily 'baked' his works in the large bread ovens to give them age in return for the odd masterpiece many of which lined the walls of his three story town house.

As he told me many times and like Tom Keating, Derek turned to his tongue in cheek faking simply to get his own back a bit on an art world that did not truly recognise his true talent but more often than not, he painted fakes just for fun!

A prime example of his dry humour, he exibited many of his works at Constables Studio which was housed in the Old Fowey Police Station and Jail!






Derek Hughes

No known image of

Derek Hughes exists.

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Contact us.

Enrico & Piero Penelli: (19 C) Italian

Enrico, was a restorer from the Louvre. One day in 1893, he casually informed experts at the British Museum, that an Egyptian sarcophagus held in their collection had been made by him and his brother and that they had formerly buried it in Certeveri! They very successfully flooded the Italian market with clay masterpieces.



Lothar Malskat:(1913-1988) and  Dietrich Fey. German

This pair were German master forgers who swamped the German art market with up to 2,000 expert imitations of 71 ancient and modern masters. Everything from Rembrandts to Utrillos. They masterfully copied such artists as Degas, Corot, Gauguin, Renoir, Rousseau, Chagall and Munch, with Malskat doing all of the faking work. Sometimes he would copy famous old paintings, sometimes imitate the style of old masters. Incredibly, Malskat could forge one a day and was so good at faking the French impressionists that they took less than an hour to make. Fey then forged the signatures on the paintings. 

Unfortunately, the pair went too far when they were involved with the 'restoring' of Gothic murals and Frescoes which magically appeared whenever they worked.


Feys firm were commissioned to restore the frescoes of a cathedral, the Marienkirche in Lübeck which had been severely damaged in World War II. The medieval frescoes on its walls had nearly disappeared! Fey's company happily did the work usefully, behind closed doors!  The restorations finishing in 1951.

The restorers were immediately praised for their good work and for discovering upreviously unknown Frescoes. The new treasures were unveiled with great ceremony during the 700 anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Marienkirche; Embarrasingly as it would transpire, with dignitaries in attendance at the unveiling which included various government ministers such as Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, the West German government celebrated the finds by printing 2 million postage stamps depicting the newly found frescoes!


In 1952, Malskat, Feys assistant, announced that he had painted the frescoes himself and instead of restoring the original frescoes, had whitewashed the walls and painted them with new works. Both were arrested. Fey got 20 months and Malskat 18. The frescoes were rapidly removed from the church walls.

When asked why had he confessed? Malskat said that he was angry that his partner Fey grabbed all the glory over the restoration of St. Mary's old frescoes!




Lothar Malskat

Gianfranco Becchina: Italian (twentieth century)

A record haul of rare antiquities illegally looted from Italy and discovered during raids on the Swiss warehouses of an accused Sicilian art dealer, was unveiled by authorities.
Police estimated the value of the 5,361 vases, bronze statues and frescoes at about €50m (£38m).
The works, dating from the eighth century BC to the third century, were laid out at the Terme di Diocleziano National Roman Museum and may go on public display before being returned to museums in southern Italy.
“This is by a long shot the biggest recovery in history in terms of the quantity and quality of the archaeological treasures,” the Carabineri general Mariano Mossa said.

The items were found during an investigation into Basel-based art dealer Gianfranco Becchina and his wife, Ursula Juraschek, also known as Rosie, who were accused by prosecutors of being part of an antiquities trafficking network that involved “tombaroli” tomb raiders in southern Italy, plus dealers and buyers around the globe.
Becchina remained free because the charges against him had expired, police said.
The investigation showed how dealers would forge provenance papers for the antiquities and create fictitious histories for them, so that museums and private collectors could in theory buy them in good faith, police said.
Police said that as a result, Italian authorities now had detailed documentation of Becchina’s inventory, including photos and receipts, that were also found in the warehouses.
Credit Guardian

The Getty Kouros bought in 1985 for nine million dollars from Becchina is still the subject of controversy.


Elizabeth Durack: (1915 - 2000) Australian

A Western Australian artist, who signed paintings as the work of Eddie Burrup, who it turned out, was a non existent aboriginal artist.





Elizabeth Durack

The Amiel Family

* The Deletion of the Amiel family story from our web page:

 At the insistence of  Ms. Sarina Amiel, the educational information we previously collected from publicly available sources on the Amiel family's alleged activities connected with the selling and distribution of illicit fine art prints, this section has been removed from its historical dateline position on this information page. She feels it is 'inappropriate' for the family to be associated or listed alongside forgers and or information relating to fakes and forgery.

 As Ms. Amiel took great pains to point out to us in an email in which she complained of the factual stories inclusion, none of those involved were ever charged nor convicted of forgery or art fraud, nor of faking works of art, but only of 'mail fraud' and it is therefore inappropriate for them to be accurately included here under any of our headings. So that's all right then?


Sadly, as Ms. Amiel is offended by the families prior inclusion in this copious list of the worlds most successful and even 'admired individuals' who were, or have, ever been accused or involved with illegal activities associated with art, we naturally do not wish to cause them or her any further offence and subsequently have immediately complied with her wishes and removed the section entirely.

anyway Ms Amiel!

Enjoy your life Ms Amiel.









Miguel Canals:  1925- 1995 Spanish 

Legitimate Copyist

Commercial paintings produced by the Barcelona based studio of Miguel Canals have been successfully offered for sale by top Auctioneers Bonhams for many years, giving the works an air of social respectability. The Spanish studio claims no anonymity as all the paintings produced here carry clear and definitive studio stamps on the back. The studio to this day, specialise in producing outstanding reproductions and or variations of works in the manner of many artists, styles and sizes and cover every subject imaginable; from a Parisian Street Scene to a romantic Victorian portrait to a still-life with birds, fruit and flowers.


Miguel Canals was responsible for founding one of the first and most highly successful studios to mass produce high-quality fakes that are neither designed to confound nor defraud the buyer. They're sold for their decorative merits only. Today, the manufacture of these works is continued by his family at the studio in Barcelona, which is staffed by 14 master copyists. Each has a specialist period, style or painter as their expertise. It's true to say that many of their copies carry a facsimile signature of the original painter they are reproducing but only if the work is out of copyright (70 years) and it was signed by the artist in the first place. This makes it legal.







Fernand Legros: (1931–1983) Egyptian

Fernand Legros was an Egyptian born American art dealer who sold the forgeries of Elmyr de Hory conspiring together with Real Lesard.

It is beleived that Legros kept most of the profits from his dealings across America in selling fakes, without telling De Hory





Fernand Legros


Eric Hebborn: (1934-1996) British.

It's written that: "Hebborn was a rogue who had no limits to his skulduggery." Eric Hebborn was a British forger who defrauded the art world in the 1960s with purportedly over a thousand Old Master drawings. Hebborn copied the style of artists such as; Corot, Castiglione, Van Dyck, Poussin, Savelli Sperandio, Francesco del Cossa, Mantegna, Ghisi, Rubens,Tiepolo, Piranesi and Jan Breughel, with huge success, duping great art auction houses, including Christie's and made a good living out of duplicating works of art for owners who didn't want the real thing hanging on the wall. Apparently even the Foreign office were clients of his.

Hebborn died under mysterious circumstances in 1996?





Eric Hebborn


David Stein: (1935 - 1999) French

David Stein is a French born forger who never physically copied a painting but painted in the style of: Chagall, Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Paul Klee, Miro, Jean Cocteau and Rouault and got away with it , that is until he was jailed in the 60's. See the book "Three Picassos Before Breakfast" having served a prison term in the USA, he was deported to his native france, where he served another sentence.




David Stein


Konrad Kujau: (1938-2000) German

The German author of the Hitler Diaries. Again very well recorded.
Many of the manufactured relics he sold included military helmets, uniforms, flags, medals, forged letters and documents allegedly by former SS officials. Yet, of all the items he sold, his most popular were paintings purportedly created by Hitler.







Konrad Kujau

Petra Kujau (Claimed to be great niece) 2010

 Bizarrely in a strange twist, following a two-year long trial which centred on 300 paintings obtained by Dresden art dealer Petra Kujau from the far east, it seems she put his signature on them and sold them on as fake paintings by Konrad Kujau himself , claiming they were works the elderly Stuttgart forger had made in his latter years. Forgeries of forgeries.

She admitted to 40 counts of fraud having bought paintings in Asia and selling them on as “Kujau forgeries” for a total of €300,000 (£247,000). Her 56-year-old male accomplice received a 20-month suspended sentence and 120 hours’ community service. The court gave her a two-year suspended sentence.



Petra Kujau


Jean-Pierre Schecroun: (C 1940)  French

Jean-Pierre Schecroun was a French art forger arrested for his Picasso forgeries in 1962. At the time he had admitted to making eight forgeries in two years. Before he was arrested and charged with forgery in 1962, Schecroun had produced about 80 works purported to be by Picasso and others.
The pictures were said to have brought in about £25,000 in two years.





Jean-Pierre Schecroun


Pamela and Ivan Liberto: (C 1942) Australians


Were jailed for nine months in 2007 after forging works by aboriginal artist Rover Thomas, four of which sold for over $307,000 through auction houses including Sotheby's and Christie's
. Pamela Liberto   Ivan Liberto







Geert Jan Jansen: (B 1943) French

 Has been called by the French police, the most sophisticated and prolific master forger that ever lived.

He had over 12 million in Swiss bank accounts and 3 false identities. Not clever enough though as Dutch painter Karel Appel recognized one of Jansen's forgeries as his own work.

When police investigated the farm where Jansen had his studio, they found 1600 forged paintings, including works purportedly by Cocteau, Dufy, Ferdinand Erfman, Charles Eyck, Leo Gestel, Bart van der Leck, Matisse, Miro and the most popular target of all, Picasso. Jansen was sentenced to one-year imprisonment and five additional years suspended sentence.


Many thanks to Mr Peter Leutscher, who has added some information about Geert Jansen.

Mr Leutscher tell ArtFake that "He was, however, NOT  apprehended in a farm, but in a French Chateau in La Chaux, all his adventures are written in a book about him called "Magenta"  written with his consen.

Publisher Prometheus, September 2008.
His last known residence is: Castle Beverweerd, near the village of Werkhoven, province of Utrecht, in the Netherlands, where he has a studio
and exposes art he now signs with his own name, in the style of any artist wanted.

We thank Mr Leutscher for his contribution.






Geert Jan Jansen


John Myatt (B 1945) and John Drewe: (B 1948) British

British artist John Myatt painted fake works of Jean Dubuffet, Nicolas de Stael, Marc Chagall, Graham Sutherland, Ben Nicholson and Alberto Giacometti, with John Drewe cleverly forging false documentation and provenances and planting the information in archive. It was to be one of the biggest modern day art forgery scams and it rocked the art world to its boots.

60 of the fakes were recovered by police but another 140 still remain at large.










John Myatt

John Drewe


William Blundell: (B. 1947) Australian

An Australian who painted works for Sydney art dealer Germaine Marie François Toussaint Curvers in the manner of many Australian artists such as; Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, William Dobell, Russell Drysdale, Sidney Nolan, Lloyd Rees, Arthur Streeton, but also very successfully, Monet, Picasso and Brett Whiteley.







William Blundell: "Day for Sailing"


John Douglas O'Loughlin:  (1948-)  Australian

In 2001, an Adelaide art dealer who sold fake Dreamtime art, purportedly to be by Aboriginal artist Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, was found guilty of deception. In 1999, police were called in to make enquiries after experts queried the authenticity of dot paintings hanging in his Sydney gallery. O'Loughlin, told the court that he was allowed to make Tjapaltjarri paintings because he was given a "skin name" during a ceremonial kangaroo hunt and was therefore Tjapaltjarri's cousin and entitiled to!




No Photo available


Ken Perenyi  and Anthony Masaccio (1949) American

For almost three decades, Perenyi had earned a fortune falsifying popular works of the eighteenth and nineteenth century artists like Martin Johnson Heade, Gilbert Stuart and Charles Bird King.
Perenyi’s specialities included British sporting and marine paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries. In his memoir, he explained the tricks of his trade, from recreating natural cracks to discoloured varnish, backed up with plausible stories of how a particular picture had been discovered in a relative’s attic or a car boot sale. Though investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, his case was closed in 2003 and is now subject to the statute of limitations.
He recalls that, by rotating auctioneers and dealers across the UK and US, he kept under the radar.

Masaccio was once a studio assistant to artist Willem de Koonig
Art forger Perenyi remembers Anthony Masaccio as a practiced partner in the sale of fake paintings, a man with movie-star looks and the nickname Tony Cha Cha who mingled with models and artists in the back room of Andy Warhol’s hangout, Max’s in Kansas City during the 1970s.
In a memoir published last year, Mr. Perenyi describes how he painstakingly created fakes that Mr. Masaccio hawked to gallery owners out of a Saks shopping bag.
Now Mr. Masaccio has surfaced as “a known purveyor in forged art” in another document — a newly amended complaint against Knoedler & Company, a gallery that is at the center of an $80 million forgery case.






Shinichi Fujimura: (B.1950) Japanese

Shinichi Fujimura is a scandalised Japanese amateur archaeologist who was accused and caught on film planting fake specimens and relics in archaeological digs to gain more prestige. Newspapers famously published pictures of Fujimura digging holes and burying the artifacts that his team later found.








Shinichi Fujimura



Cornell Gabos: American (XX century)

Was the owner of the Renaissance Fine Arts, when a federal court in Ohio, USA, put an end to his business of selling fakes and he was ordered to repay $ 2.3 million to the defrauded customers.
In January 1994 he tried to sell non original signed lithographs and etchings by famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro. The police investigation, called "Operation Bogart" had discovered an international network of forgers and dealers that were flooding the art market with fake prints
At the center of this fraudulent organization stood the name of Leon Amiel, the publisher of important art books and original limited editions on Miro, Dali and other European masters and whose family were involved in several scandals of this type.
In total Gabos sold more than 3,000 counterfeit works. He was imprisoned in 1996 for mail fraud.






Tony Tetro: (B.1950) American

Tony Tetro is an American, born in 1950. A massively prolific art forger whose faked works varied its believed in style as wide as from Chagall to Rembrandt and Dali to Rothko. Deceiving the art world very successfully throughout the 70's and 80's.

Convicted of art forgery in a show trial in Los Angeles. He was released from jail in 1994.







Tony Tetro


Michael Clifford Irving: American (1930)

It was 1970, when a novelist named Clifford Irving living in Ibiza hatched a plan to cash in by publishing an entirely fabricated “auto­biography” of Howard Hughes, the billionaire tool magnate, and aviator.
Confessing, Irving had to return the $750,000 advance, but his follow-up tell-all reportedly netted a $500,000 offer. When that book was made into a movie in 2007, he insisted his name be removed from the credits




Thomas McAnea:  (1950) Scottish “Hologram Tam”


A Glaswegian master bank note forger. Reputedly responsible for forging some £700,000 worth of bank notes at Print Link Ltd. and subsequently sentenced in 2007 for six and a half years in prison.

McAnea had previously walked free from a 10-year sentence.e for counterfeiting after earlier an conviction in 1998 was overturned following his appeal.




Thomas McAnea


Lawrence Cusack: (1951) American

Was convicted in 1999 for forging papers supposedly by J F Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, letters which he claimed were proof certain of a steamy relationship between them. Called the most audacious and most profitable hoax since the Hitler diaries, the case was known as the Cusack Papers
He defence was that he had found more than 700 pages of documents written by JFK, his brother Robert Kennedy and Monroe, amongst the files of his father, Lawrence Cusack Sr, who died in 1985







Robert Thwaites: (B.1952) British  UPDATED

Produced forgeries of British Victorian oil paintings. He even conned an Antiques Roadshow expert Rupert Maas into buying one of his 19th century fakes purportedly by John Anster Fitzgerald and was jailed for two years in the process.

*APOLOGY: Our sincere apologies to Mr Rupert Maas of the Maas Gallery for mistakenly placing his image instead of that of Robert Thwaites in this descriptor prior to this update. 18.4.09.

This was an unintentional error on our part and in no way was any malice or disrespect intended.

We apologise to Mr Maas for any embarrassment, annoyance or inconvenience this may have caused him and thank him for bringing this matter to our attention.




Robert Thwaites


Ely Sakhai: (B 1952) Iranian

Ely Sakhai is a Manhattan gallery owner, charged with forging works by numerous post-Impressionist and Impressionist painters. According to the FBI, Sakhai had bought the real Gauguin years earlier, painted a duplicate and sold the fake copy to a Japanese collector. Sakhai then brazenly put the original up for auction in an attempt to double his profits. It was a pure fluke that the unwitting owner of the Tokyo forgery decided to resell his copy at the same time. But for that coincidence, the forgery might never have been identified.


Sakhai allegedly duplicated 25 works by the painters; Claude Monet, Marc Chagall, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin and Paul Klee amongst others..

Prosecutors claimed he had been pursuing his forgeries racket for about 14 years and an estimate of his profits sits at $3.5 million. In March 2004, Sakhai was charged with a total of 8 counts of art fraud and deception but was released on bail. In July of 2005 he was sentenced to 41 months in prison, fined $12.5 million and ordered to forfeit eleven art works, for the crime of federal mail fraud.




Ely Sakhai

Mark William Hofmann (B 1954) American  'The Utah Bomber.'

Mark Hofmann has built for himself the reputation of being a notorious dealer in forged historical documents but is widely regarded as one of the most successful document, coin and banknote forgers in US history.
His downfall involved a criminal deception & the Mormon church in a Hofmann scam by convincing them that he had discovered vital documents relating to the churches founding history. Counting on their ultimate desire to suppress anything negative in its possible content, he set about the felony
Sounding dramatically as if they were penned for Jason Bourne by Robert Ludlum, these forged documents included amongst others: the Salamander Letter, the Anthon Transcript, the Far West Letter the Stowell Letter and Blessing of Joseph Smith III.

On October 15, 1985, two motion activated booby-trapped shrapnel bombs, both hidden in parcels addresses to church officials, exploded in Salt Lake City, Utah, killing two people.
Steven F. Christensen, a Mormon bishop and Kathleen Sheets whose husband was also a bishop in the Mormon Church. Both, it is believed, were involved with negotiations between the church and Hofmann for the secret purchase of the 'recently discovered' documents.

Eventually, Hofmann, after a confession to police authorities, was charged with theft and deception relating to hundreds of thousands of dollars from Mormon Church leaders through the sale of forged historical documents and with two counts of first-degree murder.

He is currently serving a sentence of 5 years to life in Utah state prison.





Mark William Hofmann



Ethem Ulge: (B.1964) Turkish

Hillsborough Police say the 44 year old native of Turkey, netted about $200,000 in bogus art sales in the USA in 2007. Under the eBay username "pakmailseller24," he offered fake paintings on eBay and was arrested in 2008. He is thought to have  netted about $200,000,




Ethem Ulge



Pedro Castorena Ibarra: (C 1965) Mexican

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. Pedro Castorena who was on the US, 10 most-wanted fugitives list, is accused of heading the family-run enterprise that has dominated the document-forging industry in the United States since the late 1980s. Supplying bogus identity papers to millions of illegal immigrants over the last two decades. It is alleged that the Fake Documents Cartel operated in 33 states.




Pedro Castorena Ibarra



Brigido Lara: (20 C)  South American

A Mexican forger of pre-Columbian antiquities who created many items in the style of the Mayans, Aztecs.
Lara sold his work as genuine Mexican antiquities with  buyers not asking too  many questions since they beleived they were buying contraband!

Lara went to jail in 1974 for a year.



Brigido Lara



Christian Goller: (B 1974) German

Faker of a work supposedly painted by Matthias Grünewald. The work was subsequently reattributed.

Cleveland Museum of Art' had paid US $1 million.









Christophe D. Petyt: (20 C) French  Legitimate Copyist

Runs a Paris-based art company formed in 1992, L'Art du Faux, that employs more than 80 highly talented artists. All are specialists in copying particular styles, periods and specific artists, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne and so on and all ingeniously create individually commissioned copies of master works. The company's decorative fakes are clearly labelled and as an additional security measure, a piece of gold leaf is worked into each picture.

L'Art du Faux boasts galleries in the United Arab Emirates and Palm Beach Florida.







Christophe D. Petyt


Kenneth Andrew Walton: (20 C) American

An American software developer and author of his memoir FAKE: Forgery, Lies and eBay, which relives his time spent selling forged art on the online auction site eBay.

In May 2000, he auctioned a painting attributed to Richard Diebenkorn on Ebay which sold for for $135,858.00 which was a fake.

His Crime. Internet fraud.

He and Fetterman were charged with Shill bidding. Bidding on the item themselves.






Kenneth Andrew Walton


Kenneth Fetterman: (20 C) American

Scam artist who occasionally partnered with Kenneth Walton to sell very expensive counterfeit art on rigged 'on line' auctions.







Kenneth Fetterman


Guy Hain: (20C) French

On January 17th 1997, Guy Hain, nicknamed "the Duke of Burgundy, a well-known French bronze dealer appeared before a court in Lure, central France, under charges accusing him of having produced thousands of faked sculptures which eventually were sold as originals of Rodin, Renoir, Maillol, Camille Claudel, Carpeaux, Barye, Fremiet, Mène and other sculptors. 

The French art forger who produced  a large number of fake bronze sculptures, the most famous pretending to be by Rodin, was sentenced to four years in jail on June 28, 1997 but served only 18 months. He was to be rearrested 2002. This time evidence collected by Dijon police department consisted of 1,100 copies of works of 98 different French sculptors. The prosecutor asked for five years in prison and FFr2 million fine!

The faking scam is said to be worth more than $60 million.

It's is estimated that he produced something like 6,000 copies beyond those that the police had previously confiscated. Only one-third of the copies have ever been traced!




No Photo available


Frank X. Kelly: American (20 C)

Besides being a restorer he devoted himself assiduously to betting on horse races. Around 1950 he began a flourishing trade in fake Monet and Renoir paintings.
His method to avoid detection: painting over old canvases retrieved in antique shops and combine elements from existing works but never exactly copy. Paint quickly, because lack of spontaneity is the first indication of a fake.
Kelly said that many of his works are still around to be discovered in private collections, two of which he saw in person in major galleries in New York (but he’s not saying which).


No Photo available


The Posin Brothers. (20C) Russian

Legitimate Copyist

Mikhail, Evgeni and Semjon Posin are three Russian brothers working in Germany who make a living by copying famous works of art. Van Gogh, Renoir. Bernardo Strozzi , Pissarro and so on. All are brilliantly reproduced.







No Photo available



Leo Stevenson:  (20 C) British

Legitimate Copyist

Artist, historian and broadcaster.

This copyists view is that the easiest paintings in the world to forge are modern British masters. 

However, he protects his own works from being mistaken for the genuine article by placing invisible inscriptions beneath his paintings which can be picked up by X-ray. He was quoted as saying: "a forger's main task is always the creation of relevant documents. This is often far harder to do convincingly than the creation of the artwork." They call the art of copying the masters 'Pastiching'



Leo Stevenson




The Greenhalgh family. (20C)

The Garden Shed Gang. Known in the press as the Artful Codgers.

The lastest massive art faking scandal to hit the media and rock the art world.

Mastermind, Shaun Greenhalgh never made art school and must have carried a huge chip on his shoulder over rejection by an art world which was much the same as with Tom Keating and the way he felt about the world.

Greenhalgh instead, turned very successfully to faking a huge variety of Art Treasures, from Egyptian figures and Assyrian reliefs to paintings by Gaugin, Peploe and Lowry. 

His parents, George and Olive, convincingly approached clients, while his older brother, George jnr, managed the money. Over a million pounds was made they say.








Olive Greenhalgh

George Greenhalgh






Shaun Greenhalgh

Vilas Likhite Vishwan: American (XX century)

Vishwan Vilas Likhite, 66, a former professor at Harvard Medical School, was sentenced to a year in prison for attempting to sell fake drawings by Mary Cassatt in 2004.
Likhite was in possession of many other false Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, Hans Hofmann, Constantin Brancusi and Marie Laurencin who was selling tens of millions of dollars.




Mark A. Landis, American (1955)

An American painter, famous for his falsifications which he then gave free to museums, passing them off as originals. His philanthropic cheating was discovered in early 2008.






Robert Driessen, Netherlands (1959)

At 16, after leaving school, he began to paint for a living, until he was asked to carry out, copies of the works of some Dutch Romantic painters: Paul Gabriel, Johan Hendrik Weissenbruch and Hendrick Willem Mesdag.
Driessen used some old paintings bought at flea markets, then removed the paint from the canvas and re worked it. After a few years he began painting fake works of expressionists like Emil Nolde, August Macke, Wassily Kandinsky and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.

He began to fake his first sculptures in 1987, with the technique of casting.
The first sculpture that he copied by Alberto Giacometti was built in 1998, after studying his style, his signature, stamp of foundry made ​​a slim figure of 2.7 meters and entitled "Annette". He held the sculpture hidden in the house and only after finding a buyer, made a bronze cast. Through an art dealer he was able to cash in by selling it for 250,000 German marks. Copying many others later, it was bought by an art dealer of Greek origin living in Germany, identified as "Guido S.". The story went on for another ten years.

Robert Driessen and his new business partner, Lothar Senke, tried to place these works to rich people who were not familiar with the works of Giacometti.  Most of the fakes were made ​​in the foundry owned by Roel Maaskant, Brummen, Netherlands.
In 2005, Robert Driessen, his wife and his son emigrated to Thailand. Before escaping, Driessen burned all the pictures that were false, while Guido S. continued to deposit payments his business concluded about him in Germany.

On one occasion in 2009, he returned to Holland in order to make another false Giacometti. But he was stopped by police, who were investigating S. Guido, and he was held for two hours at the airport in Frankfurt. After his release he was kept under surveillance for ten days, after which he managed to leave for Thailand.  Five months later, Guido S., Lothar Senke and two other employees were arrested by police at Frankfurt airport, while trying to sell false Giacometti valued at 338,000 Euro. The police managed to discover the complete stock of the gang in the city of Mainz, where his associates lived: There were 831 171 bronzes and plaster figures, all in the style of Alberto Giacometti.
Lhotar Senke was sentenced to 9 years in prison and Guido S. to 7 years and 4 months by the regional court in Stuttgart that they also inflicted heavy fines. Driessen, being German however, cannot be extradited from Thailand.
Today Robert Driessen is one of the most sought counterfeiters,





Wolfgang Beltracchi & Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus: German (twentieth century)

In Cologne four individuals were accused of having implemented a large-scale falsification of art.
Wolfgang Beltracchi, born Wolfgang Fischer, an artist of Friìburgo, was leader of an 'organization which included his wife Helene, 52, the sister Susanne, 57. The two women were described as "great sorceresses" and another alleged forger Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus, all were responsible for a scam that has fooled some of the most prestigious auctioneers in Europe.
False works by Heinrich Campendonk, Max Pechstein, Johannes Molzahn, Fernand Léger, Raoul Dufy and Max Ernst were sold as legitimate pieces for a whopping 30 million pounds by auctioneers Christies and Lempertz.
Police say that they sold at least 44 fake paintings.




Michel Van Rijn:
Dutch (1950)

Having turned the craft of international art smuggling into an art in its own right, Michel Van Rijn was once wanted by authorities all over the world for sneaking valuable pieces of art across sea and land. With millions in the bank, Michel lived the life of a playboy. He owned private planes, enjoyed a harem of beautiful women and did business with some of the world’s most dangerous criminals – many of whom were members of various governments (and probably still are).
Art smuggling has been his racket since he was 20 years old. Dealing with upper class gangsters and supposedly legitimate art dealers, he’s been shot, extradited, jailed, hunted by MI6 and Interpol and received photos of his children in the mail by way of a very unsettling threat from his enemies.

Credit October 11, 2012
J Hanrahan





Peter Ashley-Russell British 20 C

On May 16, 1986 in Knightsbridge Crown Court, a 38-year-old Peter Ashley-Russell was sentenced to 21 months in jail after pleading guilty to six counts of false hallmarking and of obtaining money by deception.

Police had found a secret panel in Ashley-Russell's Bethnal Green workshop containing forgeries, tools and hallmark punches following the discovery that he had made a fake 17th century gold spoon and fork sold at Christie's.
On July 11, 1985, a gold rat-tailed trefid spoon and three-pronged fork with the marks of William Mathew 1689, had sold to Spink & Son, bidding on behalf of an overseas client, for £48,000. They were submitted to Goldsmiths' Hall and found to be modern fakes made from melted gold coins. Not all fakes were traced and it took many years for the market to recover.

The true size of Ashley-Russell's fraud is still not known. The prosecution was formed around 39 pieces, but he is also known to have had an eBay account, regularly listing silver flatware.
It is thought that more than 450 items were offered on eBay but they did not form part of the case because the police wished to avoid a costly and time-consuming High Court appearance to obtain a production order that would have allowed them to look at eBay and PayPal accounts.





Bulgaria: (21st Century)

Has recently become a source for counterfeit ancient Greek and Roman coins!





Nigeria: (21st Century)

In particular the Oluwole area of Lagos

Here its said that anything can be and is forged!

Police recently seized; 50,000 assorted foreign cheques, 10,000 blank British Airways tickets and 10,000 United States Postal Money Orders!





Dr. Vilas Vishwan Likhite

Vilas Vishwan Likhite  a 67-year old former Harvard Medical School professor was convicted and sentenced to a year in prison for attempting to sell fake Mary Cassatt drawings in 2004. Likhite had also sold an "Edgar Degas," a "Pierre Bonnard," and a "Daniel Ridgeway Knight" according to a local entrepreneur, Anthony Biancaniello, who had subsequently brought criminal charges against him.



Vilas Vishwan Likhite



Biagio (Luigi) Cugini and Charles Locke

 In July of 2005 a Manhattan art dealer Chantal Park of Art History inc. alleged she spent $145,000.00 for a fake drawing called “Personnage Endormi et Femme Accroupie” (Sleeping Person and Kneeling Woman)  allegedly created by Picasso and deemed fake by his daughter Maya Picasso.  She paid to Charles Locke of Duluth, Georgia and to Biagio Cugini of Maynard, Massachusetts $145,000 for the fake piece.

The judge entered a $175,000 judgment against Cugini and his co-defendant in their absence..

 Cugini was a co-defendent in California in the mid 1980s in an additional alleged art fraud case involving $600,000.00 and the fake sale of art. In the case in 1985, Cugini and an associate were charged with art forgery and fraud involving artists which included fakes purportedly by Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

The case, however, was dropped.

August 26, 2010

The now sixty-eight-year-old Luigi Cugini was arrested again by the FBI in Florida recently accused of trying to sell counterfeit works of art by Picasso, Matisse and John Singer Sargent. He was also alleged to have forged Sotheby’s provenance documents confirming their authenticity. Marketing the paintings by deceit as part of the private collection of his grandfather Joseph Coletti dec’d, it seems he lied about being the grandson of the late Joseph Coletti, a Boston-area sculptor. Undercover FBI agents investigated Cugini for six months posing as a jewellery broker in order to trick Cugini.

Cugini intended to sell three paintings claimed to be the authentic works of Sargent, for $565,000. He told the undercover agent that the works were called “A Gust of Wind,” “Under the Willows” and “Head of a Young Woman.”

 In addition to the ongoing undercover operation that led to Cugini’s arrest, the FBI had previously been investigating Cugini for selling a counterfeit Picasso watercolour in March and for offering to sell $28 million dollars worth of fake paintings purportedly by Matisse to a dealer who later became a confidential informant for the government.

Cugini is currently charged with mail fraud!

This complaint is only an accusation and a defendant Cuguini is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.








No images available


Tatiana Khan and art restorer Picasso faker Maria Apelo Cruz


 69 year old Tatiana Khan, a West Hollywood antiques dealer admitted to having a Picasso drawing replicated  in 2006 order to sell it for $2 million. In a complaint against her, it is reported that Tatiana Khan, owner of the Chateau Allegre Gallery on La Cienega Boulevard, claimed that an artwork called “La Femme Au Chapeau Bleu” (The Woman in the Blue Hat) was an original Picasso and further told a prospective buyer Victor Sands of the Sands Family Trust, that it was previously owned by the Malcolm Forbes family estate and was a bargain at only $2 million, according to court documents. It was alleged that dealer Khan told artist Maria Cruz that she needed a copy of the original work based upon an accurate photograph of the original Picasso and that the reason the copy was needed was that the real Picasso artwork had been stolen from one of her clients and that she needed a copy to play a trick that would help catch the thief. Artist Cruz, had worked with Khan in the past and did not think ill of the request and was subsequently  paid $1000.00 for the copied work. Khan allegedly sold the drawing for $2 million to the art investor SandsIt was also alleged that Khan paid other accomplices in the attempted art fraud, people called the Kavanaughs an $800,000 kickback disguised as a “loan.”Tatiana Khan was charged with wire fraud and other crimes. She's currently free pending arraignment but could face 45 years in prison if convicted.             

On April 27th 2010, Khan agreed to plead guilty to federal fraud charges and as part of the plea deal will make full restitution to the purchaser of the fake Picasso and will forfeit an original work by the abstract impressionist painter Willem de Kooning that Khan had purchased with some of the proceeds from her fraud.   





Picasso fake


Jack and Leslie Kavanaugh


 According to reports and information based on the official complaint; Jack Kavanaugh and his wife lived an opulent lifestyle which spoke much of their success in life and their collection of fine art, backed up their apparent knowledge of the art market. Its alleged that they also convinced Sands to buy paintings claimed to be by Marc Chagall, Willem de Kooning and Pierre Auguste Renoir which “represented outstanding investment opportunities that were sure to earn Sands a substantial return on his initial investment,” Though these works have not been proven to be illegitimate, it was alleged that they were ‘overpaid for’ and would never reach the investment profit levels implied.

It is interesting that Sands is now suing the Kavanaugh’s In his complaint he adds that the de Kooning and Renoir were never delivered to him and he was never refunded the $175,000 deposits that he paid. Sands subsequently sued the Kavanaughs and 21 unknown defendants for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, misrepresentation, conversion and breach of contract.

The outcome is not published to our knowledge as yet.


This complaint is only an accusation and a defendant  is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.






Kristine Eubanks and husband Gerald Sullivan

Television Art Fraud: Fine Art Treasures Gallery

Kristine Eubanks and her husband Gerald Sullivan pleaded guilty in 2007 to conspiracy and tax evasion having conducted an art auction shows twice a week on DirecTV and The Dish Network from 2002 to 2006. the Fine Art Treasures Gallery allegedly sold fake and forged lithographs, prints and paintings purportedly found at estate liquidations around the world to more than 10,000 victims.Both received prison sentences of seven and four years respectively James Mobley

James Mobley, 63, of Woodland Hills a TV show auctioneer was also implicated in the same Fine Art Treasures Gallery fraud which aired on DirecTV and the Dish Network. For his part he was sentenced to five years in prison.

In the interrim, Feds seized $3.8 million from bank accounts connected to the couple.





No images available


William and Beryl Ann Toye

 William and Beryl Ann Toye, a Baton Rouge couple, have been accused by the FBI of forging paintings by renowned black folk artist Clementine Hunter.

Clementine Hunter:

The FBI  investigated allegations that William Toye, 78 and his wife Beryl Ann, 68, inferring that they had been selling forged paintings to unsuspecting art collectors and dealers since the 1970s. Works which have got into the hands of Museums and galleries its claimed. William Toye was previously arrested in the 1970s on a charge of forging Hunter's work but was never prosecuted. The couple also is suspected of using an intermediary, Robert Edwin Lucky Jr., to sell forged paintings.They were eventually charged with three counts each of mail fraud and one of conspiracy to commit mail fraud from early in 2000 until Sept. 30.

If convicted of conspiracy, the defendants face a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. Mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years, a $250,000 fine or both. 




William Toye 


No image available

for Beryl Ann Toye

Wolfgang Beltracchi & Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus.

 Charges have been filed in Cologne Germany against four individuals for running what police authorities believe is the largest-scale art forgery ring in German history.

 Wolfgang Beltracchi, born Wolfgang Fischer, is the accused leader of a recent European forgery ring that included his wife, sister-in-law and another alleged forger Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus, allegedly responsible for a massive fake art scam duping some of the worlds most prestigious auctioneers.

  Police are investigating whether that forger is Wolfgang Beltracchi, 59, an artist from Freiburg, aided by his wife, Helene, 52, and her sister, Susanne, 57 - women described as "great charmers". All three are now in police custody. Two additional men are also being investigated. 

Fake works of art believed to be by Heinrich Campendonk, Max Pechstein, Johannes Molzahn, Fernand Léger, Raoul Dufy and Max Ernst have been sold as legitimate pieces with the enormous figure of £30,000,000.00 being mentioned and imperious auctioneers Christies and Lempertz caught up in the scam which has rocked the art world. The police allege that the ring sold at least 44 apparently forged paintings since the mid-1990s. With all of the purported fakes rediscovered or lost works, with each carefully chosen for their lack of photographic image, the scam has been enormous.

Incredibly however, if found guilty, Beltracchi may get away with most of the crimes as the statute of limitations is limited to 10 years!





Wolfgang Beltracchi

 Wolfgang Beltracchi



Fake Beltracci Johannes Molzahn Portrait Oskar Schlemme

Fake Beltracci

Johannes Molzahn

Portrait Oskar Schlemme


Lothar Wilfried Senke (German) given 9 Years imprisonment for Giacometti sculpture forgery

Called the largest scam to ever shake the German art market.

 Lothar Senke  - calling himself Count Graf von Wallstein was accused of the worst counterfeiting scandal of works of Giacometti to date in a case involving more than 1000 bronzes and plasters. He was convicted on June the 30th 2011 in Stuttgart Germany for 38 of the 50 crimes including the infringement of the copyright of Alberto Giacometti.

Senke had produced as provenance for prospective buyers, some who had bought fake Giacometti sculptures out of the boot of his car, providing a convincing book of photographs and dialogue relating to the forgeries which purportedly has been secreted away by Giacometti's brother who was a personal friend.

Accomplices named were Herbert Schulte -- an art dealer in Mainz -- as well as Schulte's wife and another accomplice.

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









Fake Giacometti

William 'Billy' Mumford (British)

Operation Sketch

 William Mumford admitted creating up to 1000 art forgeries and conspiracy to deceive potential buyers and launder the proceeds of the crimes. His co-conspirators placed the works for sale on eBay and at auction houses throughout the UK, receiving a 20% cut for their efforts. Many of the paintings ended up abroad, some being sold on as genuine several times.

The forged works imitated a range of artists including; Francis Newton Souza, Sayed Haider Raza, Jilali Gharbaoui, Sadanand Bakre, Maqbool Fida Husain, Welsh landscape painter Kyffin Williams, and English surrealist and modernist artist John Tunnard.

William 'Billy' Mumford, 63, was jailed for two years in 2012 at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, May 3, and his wife Daphne, 62, and four others, including a second married couple, were also sentenced for their part in the fraud.


Credit ATG



William Billy Mumford

John C. Andrews, English (1949)

The mask right appeared on Ebay in January 2008. The seller was John C. Andrews with the nickname 'Antiqus-2000' which became 'phosphene-gallery' and 'franks1310'.
The mask was described as "an undisputed masterpiece of Egyptian art" had been attributed to the 22nd dynasty with a framed letter apparently written by Sir Wallis Budge in 1920 and another sent by the current curator of the British Museum, dated April 2003, with stamp of the museum, that authenticate the piece, along with the envelope of the letter and a xerox copy of the entry pass of the mask to the British Museum for the control, which dates back to March 2003.
The price was £ 5,000.
John Andrews is still in business on eBay, now he sells copies with false labels antique. Buy replica for little and adds a label suitably aged, and sell them to hundreds of pounds.


All credit.   Ancient Relics



Tony McManus - AKA Tony the Terrible (Irish 20 C) d 2004

A conman with no remorse. Belfast art dealer and faker who sold fake works to collectors he said were stupid enough to buy them. Offering to buy the work back from them for more then they paid for it the following year.



Jonathan Rayfern, British 21 C

A former art student who once worked alongside artist Tracey Emin. Jailed for 16 months after being convicted of forging her work.
Rayfern at the time, 32, admitted 10 counts of fraud and one of deception after faking the artworks and selling them on eBay.

He made at least 11 fake items said to be by Emin, who became famous as one leading lights of the Britart movement.
Fakes included pen work, printing on fabrics and patchwork.


Jonathan Rayfern

Xiao Yuan ( Chinese) 21 C

 Art theft and forgery appears to be a major problem at China's Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, where former chief librarian Xiao Yuan has admitted to replacing 143 artworks with fakes he created himself. He claims that several of his fakes were subsequently replaced with even poorer quality copies. Xiao is reported to have admitted that he removed the 143 paintings from a gallery under his care between 2004 and 2006, successfully auctioning 125 of them until 2011.
By swapping the landscapes and calligraphies of 17th and 20th-century Chinese artists with his own replicas, Xiao amassed 34 million yuan (£3.5m) which he spent on apartments and more paintings. Xiao was finally caught when a former student of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art noticed the university seal on artworks for sale in Hong Kong. Not that bright then !
Xiao was arrested in May 2014 and will be sentenced at a later date.
Appearing at Guangzhou People's Intermediate Court, Xiao, age 57, pleaded guilty on a corruption charge. His defense for his crime?
Everyone else was doing it.


Karl Feoder Goldie AKA: Karl F Sim - (New Zealand) 1923-2013

 New Zealand's most infamous painting forger and the first to be convicted in NZ history,. CF Goldie was formerly an art forger called Karl F Sim.
In his autobiography, “Good as Goldie” he included E.W.Christmas, Rita Angus, his downfall, Frances Hodgins, Colin McCahon and Charles F Goldie, his favourite,, as artists whose works he’d forged. He a;lso faked; Petrus van der Velden, Toss Woollaston, Renoir, William Dobell, Arthur Stretton and Evelyn Page.

  Sim was arrested in the 1985 on 40 counts of forgery and fined $1000. Afterwards, he changed his name by deed poll to Carl Feodor Goldie so he could sign his paintings C.F.Goldie legally !

 The magistrate that sentenced him came each day to the trial from Wellington to Foxton and visited the four pubs in the town. Problem was, he couldn't find anyone that had a bad word to say about him, which was probably part of the reason he got off so lightly….. !

Karl F Sim




Hopefully, no offence was, will be or may be taken by any of the members of the public who may be, have been or might be in the future, caught up or defrauded by the purchase of an illicit work of art or upset by our web page which is designed to be wholly informative, educational and above all entertaining.


 Just in case we may have offended the Romans generally or as a nation, the Chinese, the Bulgarians or the Nigerians for their inclusion also on this fakes page, we humbly apologise to them.


 For those others of you who are upset by the inclusion of the fake, fake, story of  Snr. (none existant) Poggibonsi,

how sad you are! We have had several letters demanding it is all true when it was a college lecturers prank!











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