Here’s an interesting little story from the BBC‚ about a side-result of the recent overheated international art market. Apparently, for about two decades in Britain—until they were recently caught—a son and his elderly parents made fake artworks and artefacts worth millions of dollars.
Shaun Greenhalgh made sculptural objects and paintings that were often flatfooted copies of originals he had found in catalogues. The artists and family also created fake letters to provide provenance for the objects that fooled multiple museums and collectors.
The police became suspicious when the letters contained misspellings and incorrect samples of cuneiform script. After raiding the family’s home, the police found that the artist’s forgeries went back at least seventeen years and had netted the family at least half a million pounds—the amount found in the family’s bank account. But police said the family’s crimes did not appear to have been motivated by money.
“They didn’t own a computer or live in luxury,” said the police. “They were living in abject poverty, a very poor lifestyle, very basic.”
So why did they do it, according to police? “They had a resentment of the art market and wanted to prove they could deceive it,” said one police official. “Greenhalgh felt he was a better artist than he would ever get recognition for and he developed a general hatred of the art market and the art establishment.”
Hm, possibly true. But just about every artist thinks the same—that he’s a better artists than just about everyone else—and most don’t end up going criminal.
Or do they?