Beltracchi Fake Pulled from Millon and Associates Auction in Dubai

Paris auction house Millon & Associates was force on Wednesday to pull “Bouquet varié” (1937), a painting supposed to be by Polish artist Moïse Kisling from their October 22 evening auction at the Dubai Ritz Carlton. Far from a Kisling original, the work is yet another creation of master forger Wolfgang Beltracchi. Worse yet: it got all the way through Millon’s now questionable vetting process and into the catalogue, bearing the  provenance of the “Collection Jägers, Cologne.” That collection is entirely the fabrication of Beltracchi and his wife, both of whom are now in a Cologne prison.

Even if the Jägers provenance hadn’t warranted an immediate disqualification of the work, its previous owner was listed as “Collection Beltracchi, Palma,” a name that even the most novice of European art professionals would or should know at this stage, two years after the forger admitted to his 35-year-long run faking impressionist and modern masters.

Alexandre Millon told the Spiegel that suspicion was only raised after the catalogue had gone to print. Millon explained that the painting was immediately removed from their website and from the catalogue. However, a listing is still available on ArtFinding. A full investigation has been initiated by Berlin police as to how the painting reached Millon and subsequently Dubai.

In October of last year Beltracchi was sentenced to six years in prison, along with his wife and two accomplices. The sentence was based on 14 identified fake pictures, though many more have been found in the aftermath that were not named in the initial indictment.

Alexander Forbes