A dentist from Neuss, Germany, has been accused of trying to present 20 fake Picasso paintings as authenticated works. Per the German-language magazine Monopol, the 52-year-old man had presented the paintings, which included fake certificates of authenticity from the Picasso estate, to representatives from several auction houses for review at a hotel in Düsseldorf in January 2017.
He reportedly claimed the handwritten notes on the back of the canvases were from Picasso’s son. The auction houses, which went unnamed in the report, raised suspicions about the authenticity of the works, and authorities were soon contacted. According to the Monopol report, he had not officially attempted to sell them before being caught. The dentist could now face being charged with the “unauthorized exploitation of copyrighted works” and the use of fake certifications, and he will stand trial at the Düsseldorf District Court on January 28.
This is not the only major legal case concerning faked Picassos recently. Last November, a court in Lyon, France, upheld two-year suspended jail sentences for Pierre and Danielle Le Guennec, who were convicted in 2015 of stealing a trove of paintings which included nine Cubist collages and a work from Picasso’s Blue Period. Pierre, who worked as Picasso’s electrician, presented the works to be authenticated by the Picasso estate in 2010. The estate subsequently filed a report with local authorities.
“If you see the Picasso estate and tell them these works fell from the sky or you picked them up from the bric-a-brac market, there is little chance anyone will believe you,” said the lawyer for Picasso’s son Claude Ruiz-Picasso, Jean-Jacques Neuer, at the time of the Le Guennec’s conviction.