Wolfgang Beltracchi with his lawyer
The notorious German art forger, Wolfgang Beltracchi has claimed on a German talk show that he “recently” saw one of his paintings hanging in Vienna’s Albertina Museum. Beltracchi made the claim on the ZDF show Markus Lanz.
He was recently released on probation after serving three years of a six-year prison sentence for creating 14 fake artworks purported to have been painted by the likes of Max Ernst and Heinrich Campendonk.
Last year Beltracchi made a similar claim on the Austrian TV show Talk im Hangar-7, suggesting that one of his fakes may be among the Albertina’s collection, without divulging which work it was. At the time it was speculated that the fake may have been Max Pechstein’s paintingLying Female Act with Cat (1909), from the collection of expressionist expert Hermann Gerlinger. The painting was part of a 2007 exhibition at the museum.
Salzburger Nachrichten reported that in response to Beltracchi’s latest claim, the director of the Albertina Museum, Klaus Albrecht Schröder, told the Austrian radio station ORF-Radio Ö3 that he intends to get in touch with the forger to ascertain whether he was talking about the painting featured in the 2007 exhibition or a different artwork.
“I will make contact and ask if it is the painting from the Gerlinger collection or a different artwork,” he said. “Of course we want to know. I said at the beginning that the prosecution made a grave mistake not to use the case to discover all of the fakes.”