WORKING closely together, officers of the Guardia Civil and the Mossos d’Esquadra have arrested six people in Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia, who are suspected of creating fake works of art and selling them as originals.
The investigation began in October 2016 when a complaint was made by a collector in Barcelona concerning the provenance of a painting supposedly by Catalan artist Ramón Casas for which he paid €7,200 and the fact that other paintings by well-known Spanish artists were being offered.
Once the officers started to look into this matter, it transpired that a gang of forgers and sellers based in Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia were working together to not only produce fake paintings by Ramón Casas, Isidre Nonell, Eliseu Meyfren, Joaquim Mir, and Santiago Rusiñol but were also producing certificates of authenticity using stolen rubber stamps.
The basic procedure used by this criminal gang was to study the work of popular artists mainly from Catalonia where there is a strong market, produce a sketch showing the style of painting to be produced and then paint the actual fake on canvas that was artificially aged.
More than 100 fake paintings have been discovered which were sold for more than €100,000 and three of those arrested have already been sent to prison whilst the investigation continues.