The forgery ring that tripped up Steve Martin, along with many others, is finally going to trial in Germany, according to the BBC:
The group are accused of selling 44 fake paintings over the past decade, purportedly by 20th Century masters. Wolfgang Beltracchi, 60, is alleged to be the mastermind behind the scam which defrauded art collectors including the Hollywood actor Steve Martin out of millions of dollars. More than 160 witnesses are expected to appear over 40 days of the trial.
The Daily Mail explains how the fraud worked:
They said they formed part of the ‘Werner Jaeger Collection.’ Jaeger was a prominent art collector in Germany and Helene and her sister are his granddaughters. He died in 1992.
The pictures were sold not only through auction houses in Germany, but also ended up in the art world via traders in London and Paris. Gallery owners, auctioneers and art historians alike fear the case could trash many reputations and fortunes.
The court will hear how the fakes were not copies of existing pictures but were painted in the style of the artists concerned with consummate skill. […]
One expert, Werner Spies, who knew artist Max Ernst personally, incorrectly identified five of the forgeries as authentic. He is now being sued for damages by a French art dealer.
Art Fraud Trial Begins in Germany (BBC News)