NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Somewhere in Queens, there’s an artist who fooled some of the richest people in the world. They spent millions on fake masterpieces he was churning out by the dozens — in his garage!
Art world insider Marion Maneker told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello on Friday it is scandal on an epic scale.
“So many different, very wealthy, very sophisticated people found themselves at each other’s throats,” Maneker said.
Dozens of paintings — masterpieces reputed to be by artists including Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning — sold for a total of $80 million.
Now, federal prosecutors say the works of art were fake — forgeries created by an unnamed Queens man — an artist working out of a studio in his garage.
“I’ve had people copy me but no one’s ever forged me yet,” artist Peter Wood said.
Wood and Josephine Wallis said they’d like to meet the talented forger.
“To be able to forge all those abstract impressionists so successfully is quite amazing,” Wood said.
“The search is on. Let’s see how long it takes to track him down,” Wallis added.
Federal prosecutors said the forger is a formally trained artist who spent years peddling his paintings on the streets of Manhattan. The artist isn’t facing charges, but Glafira Rosales is, Aiello reported. She allegedly convinced a leading New York art dealer she was getting the paintings from a mysterious client.
“The Swiss-resident son of a German artist who lived in Mexico,” Maneker said.
Rosales lives in $2 million Sands Point mansion, where no one was talking Friday.
Rosales sold the paintings to a renowned East Side gallery that is now defunct.
“The wealthy art collectors who bought the phony art are suing left and right,” Maneker said. “There is a lot of blame to be put on the person who buys these works of art. You do have to do due diligence.”
Because that masterpiece might have been hatched in a garage in Queens.
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