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Steve Martin paid $850,000 for forged painting

Posted by Doug Most  June 1, 2011 12:02 PM

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PEOPLE-STEVE MARTIN-CAPITOL CONCERT.jpgComedian, actor, banjo player, and yes, art collector, Steve Martin (recent Globe interview here), is caught up in a massive art scandal that's rocking the European art world, according to numerous reports. 

In this article, the German magazine, Der Spiegel, says it could be Germany's biggest art forgery scandal ever.

Martin reportedly bought from a Paris gallery in 2004 what he thought was a 1915 piece by Heinrich Campendonk, a German-Dutch modernist. It was called "Landschaft mit Pherden," which means "Landscape With Horses (that's the work below). The $850,000 price tag was thought to be a bargain. Turns out there was good reason.

Martin later sold the work through Christie's auction house for a significant loss. 

But now police believe the piece is fake and are investigating what they believe is a huge forgery ring run by several German swindlers. The Guardian has a good roundup here.

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