Agence France Presse reminds us that art forgers are often motivated by more than money. They want recognition for their gifts. Here, in a story about a ring of Picasso fakers, we hear it all again:
The court heard that between 1997 and 2005 the gang had trafficked nearly 100 forged versions of paintings by top artists such as Picasso, Marc Chagall and Fernand Leger, posing to rich buyers as needy heirs. Some of the 20 civil plaintiffs paid up to 300,000 euros for the works.
Ribes, who received a two-year custodial sentence plus one year suspended, told the court he had been a keen painter since childhood and had started painting fakes in 1975 “for fun” and because his own work was not selling.
“It was easier to do that than try to sell to people who understood nothing about my paintings,” he said. Ribes’s lawyer Antonin Levy said he was glad the court had recognised the “high quality” of the artists’s work. The court “recognised him as an artist and not simply a forger,” Levy said.