FBI

The rise of fakes and false attributions in the art world

Pablo Picasso famously once said, “We all know that art is not the truth.”

With the recent conclusion of the first lawsuit filed against the now defunct, Knoedler Gallery of New York, for selling forgeries, the art world has been abuzz with stories of high-end fakes and the grave issue of false attributions. However, it is a universally established fact that forgeries are not a recent phenomenon but in fact have only grown in prevelance over the last four centuries.

Currently, the FBI estimates that art theft, fraud, looting, and trafficking across state and international lines are a “looming criminal enterprise with estimated losses running as high as $6 billion annually.”

FBI seizes art and documents from Santa Fe dealers

FBI agents carried paintings, documents and a computer last week from the homes of two Santa Fe art dealers under investigation for possible fraud, court documents show, as artists claim they have not been paid for work the duo has sold and buyers allege they have not received pieces they purchased.

Search warrants unsealed in federal court Friday indicate investigators are trying to track down paintings claimed by several artists and buyers who say they have struggled for years to recover works that rotated through galleries jointly owned by Saher Saman and Marji Hoyle.

Iconic Andy Warhol prints stolen from Springfield Art Museum

Someone broke into a Missouri art museum this week and stole an unknown number of prints of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans.

The Springfield News-Leader reports the theft at the Springfield Art Museum happened between 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and 8:45 a.m. Thursday. Police spokeswoman Lisa Cox says the FBI and Interpol have been notified.

The website for London-based art auction house Christie’s says a similar 1968 color screenprint from Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup I series sold for more than US$30,000 in 2015.

The Gardner Heist: who's got the art?

Sometimes, when Anthony Amore gets frustrated by his 11-year hunt for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s stolen paintings, he and the FBI agents on the case will talk each other through the ways that other museums’ stolen masterpieces have come home.

If the 13 Gardner artworks swiped in 1990 are ever returned, will it be thanks to an old crook, ready to deal at last? A family member, sorting through inherited bric-a-brac in some long-locked New England attic? Or a tip from the public, someone who sees or hears a final clue?