Monday, January 11, 2010

Fake Sketch Sold as $2 Million Picasso

The ink may be mightier than the sword, but in a recent criminal act the choice of weaponry was pastel. LA gallerist Tatiana Khan is being sued for selling a Picasso at 2 million dollars, less than half of its claimed value. In reality the work is a complete forgery. Khan allegedly paid artist Maria Apelo Cruz $1,000 dollars to copy a photograph of La Femme au Chapeau Bleu (The lady in a blue hat), after claiming that the original work was stolen and the copy was needed to catch the supposed thief.  Khan then sold the copy as an original Picasso and (according to the Los Angeles Times) falsely claimed it was owned by the Malcolm Forbes Estate. After the sale Khan purchased a $720,000 Willem de Kooning, which has been seized by the FBI. Khan's attorney has fired back stating that the accused Chateau Allegre Gallery has been well respected for over forty years.  

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Image courtesy of U.S. Attorney Office, "La Femme au Chapeau Bleu" by Maria Apelo Cruz

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