Austria has prevented the sale of fake "by Picasso" to 50 million euros

This week the Austrian criminal intelligence service announced the discovery of a criminal gang that was trying to sell fake paintings attributed to famous artists for tens of millions of euros. The paintings were supposedly created by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and other masters of the 20th century.The attackers were arrested in July of this year, but so far the details of the operation have not been disclosed.

Law enforcers said that intelligence officers acted as buyers. Six suspects were detained at the airport of Vienna. They tried to sell five paintings, allegedly belonging to the brush of Pablo Picasso, each of which was estimated at approximately 10 million euros.
Authorities in the Vienna suburb of Schwechat, where the international airport is located, received information in the middle of the year that a small criminal group plans to sell fake works of art. Information transferred to the intelligence service, which organized a secret purchase, according to The New York Times.
Left: fake painting attributed to Pablo Picasso titled “Portrait of the artist based on El Greco” and dated 1950. Photo: Bundeskriminalamt

The group consisted of five Austrians and one Slovenian citizen. During the subsequent raids in Austria, more than a dozen fake works in the style of Picasso and Emil Nolde were discovered. In addition, a whole treasure of canvases was found in Slovenia, supposedly created by six dozens of other artists, including Gustav Klimt, Claude Monet, Wassily Kandinsky and the same Picasso.
A Slovenian member of the group had already tried to sell some fakes two years ago, but could not find any buyers, a criminal intelligence representative said. This suspect claimed during interrogation that he had bought works from a certain collector. Who created the fakes - is still unknown.The leaders of the Austrian police demonstrate one of the fakes seized from suspects. Photo: Bundeskriminalamt Suspected, whose names were not disclosed, told investigators that they were confident in the authenticity of the work. All of them were signed by artists, and also had the sorrow of respected galleries and information about the origin. France-Presse reports that along with the works, fake certificates of authenticity were discovered, including one signed by the son of Pablo Picasso. Now the detainees are released before the trial, and the seized canvases are handed over to the police. Representatives of the funds of these artists are authenticating some of the paintings.Seated womanPablo Picasso1909, 81 × 65 cmThe staggering sums that fraudsters hoped to gain for Picasso's fakes are quite understandable. Recall that in July of this year, at the sale of Sotheby's in London, Picasso's painting “Sitting Woman” of fierce trading went away for $ 63.7 million, which exceeded the estimate by 20 million. The model for the portrait was the mistress of the artist Fernanda Olivier, and the canvas itself was part of a series that helped the master to adopt a style later called “cubism.” According to materials from world news agencies. Main Illustration: APA / Helmut Fohringer