The only thing interesting about the Beltracchis, the art forging couple who may have perpetrated the biggest fraud in the art market, is how utterly boring they come off in this Vanity Fair story:
He enjoyed some early success as a painter in his own right, contributing three works to a prestigious art exhibition in Munich in 1978. But, by his own admission, he was more drawn to the outlaw life. One day during his wanderings, he bought a pair of winter landscapes by an unknown 18th-century Dutch painter for $250 apiece. Fischer had noticed that tableaus from the period which depicted ice skaters sold for five times the price of those without ice skaters. In his atelier, he carefully painted a pair of skaters into the scenes and resold the canvases for a considerable profit. Thirty years ago, fakes were even harder to detect than they are now, he tells me. “They weren’t the first ones I made, but they were an important step.” Soon he was purchasing old wooden frames and painting ice-skating scenes from scratch, passing them off as the works of old masters.