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May 20, 2011

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The ongoing case of German “count” Lothar Senke has revealed that the Alberto Giacometti fraudster sold some 200 of the “indescribably bad” fakes -- the most forged art works ever sold in German market history, reports Der Spiegel. Along with his wife and accomplice Herbert Schulte, the self-named “Count of Waldstein” scammed more than €8 million before being arrested in a sting operation in 2009. The German court is expected to sentence Senke next week.

The maker of the fakes -- which were all "originals," and not copied from existing works -- has not been found, though Der Spiegel suggests an unknown source in Holland. Senke and Schulte spent seven years falsifying their expertise on Giacometti, an artist who is presumably easy to fake as he lacks a catalog raisonné. The pair forged certificates of authenticity and Schulte authored a book -- print run: 300 -- on Giacometti’s younger brother and assistant (it was published under Senke’s name). Apparently the collectors thought nothing of buying the sculptures out of a trunk. At least it was a Rolls-Royce.

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