Tag Archives: falsificación de arte

Los robos de arte en las series de televisión

En algunas de nuestras anteriores entradas (Las réplicas de las obras de arte en el cine, The Monument Men, Robos con arte. Entre el delito y la ficción) ya hemos hablado de la fascinación del séptimo arte por los robos de las obras de arte mientras hacíamos referencia a cómo éstos añaden un halo de dandismo y sofisticación. Pues hoy toca hacerlo sobre la televisión.

Y es que en tiempos en los que los los ladrones de arte escriben sus biografías y son motivo de documentales; los actos de destrucción de templos y esculturas de piedra circulan masivamente por redes sociales y medios de comunicación; y los museos dedican exposiciones a la iconoclastia, no nos debería extrañar que los robos de arte y sus ladrones sean protagonistas en la tramas de las series televisivas, como lo hemos visto en Castle y El Ministerio del Tiempo durante las pasadas semanas 17 y 18.

Fragmento de Castle. “Eye of the Beholder”. Temporada 4. Capítulo 5 (63)

Castle y Beckett investigan un asesinato sucedido en un museo. Tal asesinato guarda relación con el robo de la escultura Puño del capitalismo, de un valor de 50 millones. Serena Kaye, una atractiva investigadora que esconde un secreto muy importante, les ayudará en este caso y centrará su atención en Castle. Además, Joy McHugh, una adinerada benefactora del museo, se convertirá en la principal sospechosa del crimen. Finalmente Beckett, Castle y Serena encuentran que la obra de Alisa, una joven artista, contiene escondida la escultura en el mismo museo.

El Ministerio del Tiempo. “Óleo sobre tiempo”. Temporada 2. Capítulo 17

Diego Velázquez, que es funcionario del ministerio, recibe una alarma en su móvil. Uno de sus cuadros acaba de ser subastado en 2016 a un precio estratosférico. Esto sería algo normal si no fuera porque es una de las pinturas que fue destruida por el fuego en el incendio del Alcázar de Madrid en 1734. Ante la falta de patrullas por problemas con el convenio laboral, el propio Velázquez e Irene se desplazan hasta allí para investigar lo que está ocurriendo. Lo que se encuentran es un robo de arte a gran escala por parte de Darrow en colaboración con Lola Mendieta, quienes están sustituyendo los originales por copias para, siglos después, hacer negocio con los originales.

Parece ser que estos capítulos tienen un claro preferente: en el 2009 la USA Network lanzó la serie White Collar (Ladrón de guante blanco) en la que durante seis temporadas Neal Caffrey, un convicto estafador que es capturado después de su fuga, termina colaborando con el departamento de crímenes de guante blanco bajo la supervisión del agente especial del FBI Peter Burke, que es el que lo puso en prisión. A lo largo de la serie, Neal ayudará a la FBI a solucionar los casos más complicados haciendo uso de su basto conocimiento. Y es que él es un hábil ladrón y falsificador de arte, entre otras actividades criminales.

Trailer de White Colllar

El capítulo piloto de Ladrón de guante blanco, entre otras historias de la trama, aborda el caso de la falsificación por parte de El Holandés de unos bonos españoles de 1938 que fueron acuñados con unos grabados de Goya. Ya en esta primera entrega, como en el caso de las otras series, podemos identificar como se parafrasean casos verídicos entre la ficción, o como se construyen ficciones a partir de casos reales… Habrá que estar atentos a la pantalla a ver si lo próximo irá en clave criminológica pseudo-historicista, en la línea de ficción especulativa de Black Mirror, o en algo totalmente nuevo y diferente.

Black Mirror. Temporada 1. Capítulo 1

Un terrorista ha raptado a la princesa Susannah de Gran Bretaña, una adolescente princesa que es la favorita de toda la población, muy querida, famosa y activa en Facebook. El delincuente ha subido un vídeo de la princesa en YouTube en la que se la ve atada y leyendo los requerimientos para su libertad. Para sorpresa del gabinete, el secuestrador no quiere dinero, no busca que liberen a un terrorista, ni que UK condone la deuda del Tercer Mundo. El Primer Ministro deberá salir en todas las cadenas de la televisión en una transmisión en vivo teniendo relaciones con un cerdo. Al final del capítulo descubrimos que el secuestrador, que se suicida después de liberar a Susannah y de comprobar cómo el Primer Ministro cumple con su palabra, es Carlton Bloom, un artista ganador de un premio Turner. El acto del cerdo termina siendo la primera gran obra de arte del siglo XXI según otro artista.

El falsificador más generoso de Estados Unidos

America’s most generous con artist

Fuente: BBC

Mark Landis at home

For decades, Mark Landis donated art to museums and galleries across the US. He was feted as a wealthy collector but the pictures were fakes that he had created himself. He was never prosecuted though – he didn’t take payment so hadn’t broken any law.

“It obviously isn’t a crime to give a picture to a museum, and they treated me like royalty. One thing led to another, and I kept doing it for 30 years,” says Mark Landis, one the most prolific art forgers in US.

“Have you ever been treated like royalty? Let me tell you, it’s pretty good.”

Landis’s career as an art forger began in the mid-1980s, when he gave some pictures to a California museum, saying they were by the American 20th Century artist Maynard Dickson.

“It was an impulse to impress my mother. I always admired the rich collectors on TV giving away pictures to museums.

“I put Maynard Dickson’s name on them because that’s what the museums wanted,” he says. “He was a cowboy artist, so I went to the library and checked out some books of photographs of American Indians, and copied a bunch of them.

“I knew the museums wanted cowboy pictures, so that’s what I did.”

A Mark Landis copy of a watercolour by Paul Signac
A Mark Landis copy of a watercolour by Paul Signac…
Watercolour by Paul Signac
…and Signac’s original work

As a teenager Landis had suffered a nervous breakdown following the death of his father, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Art therapy revealed his talent for copying, and he was able to turn out fakes at astonishing speed.

“If I can’t get something done by the time a movie’s over on TV, I’ll give up on it.”

Posing as a wealthy benefactor, Landis donated counterfeits to dozens of respected institutions across the US until, in 2008, he walked into the Oklahoma City Museum. Matt Leininger was the museum’s registrar, tasked with looking after new works.

“We just thought Landis was a really eccentric art collector,” Leininger says. “The first piece he gave us, he actually hand-delivered – a watercolour by Louis Valtat.

“We framed the Valtat and put it on display next to a Renoir in our gallery, not knowing what we had just hung was a fake.”

Landis continued sending forgeries to museums, and might never have been rumbled had he not offered copies of the same works to different galleries.

“We received an envelope in the mail which had five additional works in,” says Leininger. They appeared to be paintings by the French 19th Century artists, Paul Signac and Stanislas Lepine.

“I did some research on the Signac, and it showed up in a press release by the Savannah College of Art and Design under the same credit line – Mark Landis. I didn’t think too much about it until I looked up the Lepine, and it showed up in a press release at the Saint Louis University of Modern Art – with the same credit line. That raised a red flag.

“I sent a message out, and within the first hour, between phone calls and emails I had 20 institutions call me and ask who this guy was and what was going on.”

Leininger says Landis did a good job on his forgeries – but they didn’t stand up to close scrutiny. One offering was a chalk drawing supposedly 300-400 years old. Leininger peeled back the brittle-looking mount board on the picture, expecting it to fall apart.

“It didn’t, and when I peeled it back it was stark white,” he says. “And it smelled like stale coffee. So he was using coffee to distress things to give them age.”

The ease with which a simple inspection revealed the deception begs the question why so many institutions were so easily fooled.

“Landis would do his homework. He knew what museums collected. He was pretty sure they were going to be accepted because it would have fit their collection.”

Mark Landis at home with some of his pictures
Mark Landis showing off some of his work in the documentary Art and Craft which told his story

The way Landis presented himself – and his donations – was also very convincing. “He said everything an art museum would want to hear,” says Leininger. He had a “back story about how he had this art collection and supposedly family wealth, promising money for endowments”.

Leininger sought advice from a former FBI agent who specialised in art crime. But because no money had changed hands for the forgeries, Landis had not broken the law. The burden of due diligence fell on the institutions who accepted his donations and if they displayed his fakes in their collection, that was their problem.

Landis had embarrassed dozens of galleries with his deception, and Leininger believes that some museums knew Landis was a fraud but kept quiet to save face.

“What curator or director wants to admit they accepted fakes into a museum?” asks Leininger. “Museums don’t want to make that stuff public.”

Landis meanwhile acknowledges his deceit, but says he doesn’t feel bad about it.

“I’m like Pinocchio,” he says. “You let your conscience be your guide. If something’s really wrong, you kind of know. I wasn’t worried about being prosecuted.”

He continued to produce forged works, even after he had been exposed, and carried on donating to unwitting galleries. Indeed, his output increased after his mother’s death in 2010.

Two years later, Oklahoma City Museum put on an exhibition of Landis’s counterfeit works. It was curated by Leininger, and opened – deliberately – on April Fool’s Day. Landis was the guest of honour.

“I was really nervous before the show because I didn’t know what to expect. But then when I got there everything was really nice. So I was pleasantly surprised,” he says.

Landis and Leininger met at the exhibition, where the forger apologised for any problems he had caused. But was Landis embarrassed by what he had done now he was confronted with a room full of his own forgeries?

“Not really – except a lot of them were really bad,” he says. “That’s why I didn’t want to look at them.”

Gracias a Susan Aumann por el pase.