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Auction house accused of selling fake Warhols

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09:31 CEST+02:00
Malmö gallery owner Per-Olov Börjeson has filed a police report claiming that auction house Lauritz.com has sold millions of kronor of fake Warhols to unsuspecting art collectors.

The auction house rejects the extent of his claims.

“We have received a report regarding forgery and fraud,” confirmed detective Stefan Olsson of the Malmö police to the TT news agency.

According to the report, the fake paintings can be traced back to an exhibition of works by Andy Warhol arranged by Börjeson in 1984.

In conjunction with the show, the gallery published posters and an art book featuring a portrait of Ingrid Bergman, which Börjeson claims is the source of the reproductions.

“On the basis of the information I have today, I would estimate that Lauritz.com has sold reproductions with fake signatures worth between two and five million kronor,” Börjeson said in the statement he gave to police.

Lauritz.com confirms that they have found works that had questionable authenticity, but maintains that it was nowhere to the extent claimed by Börjeson.

"It is correct that we have unfortunately found works where the authenticity of the signature was called into question. Warhol had at least three different signatures and we still haven't determined with 100 percent accuracy if the signatures in question are fake," Mette Jessen of Lauritz.com said in an email to TT.

"Moderna museet in Stockholm and many others have likewise been unsure if Warhol signatures were genuine. Moderna museet has both owned and exhibited fake Warhols in the belief they were originals."

She dismissed Börjeson's claim that they had sold fake Walhol paintings worth between two and five million kronor.

“Our entire sales of Warhol are significantly less and the authenticity of only a very limited number of pieces is in question.”

The company has contacted customers who purchased suspicious paintings and informed them that they have the right to return their purchases.

Ten individuals have expressed a desire to return their paintings, and six of these have already done so and received full reimbursement.

The police have not yet contacted Lauritz.com, but the company says it will fully cooperate with any investigation.

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