GENEVA.- The Artveras Gallery Geneva
announced that finally an amicable settlement between the German auction house Lempertz and the buyer of the false Heinrich Campendonk Rotes Bild mit Pferden was signed ending thereby a harsh judicial battle generated by one of the biggest forgery cases of the 20th century. The buyer, an Artveras Gallerys client, has now recovered the total amount invested in the unfortunate acquisition and is completely satisfied by the situation. This conclusion is a great victory not only for the Genevan Gallery or its client, but also for the whole art market world.
The team of the young Genevan Artvera's Gallery is today really delighted and proud. It is indeed on their sagacious advice that in 2008 one of their clients, the maltese company Trasteco Ltd. which had acquired the supposed above-mentioned Campendonk, accepted that certain scientific analyses were performed on the artwork to establish its presumed inauthenticity. A presumption, which was indeed afterwards conclusively proven to be right.
Sold at auction in Cologne for a record price of 2,88 million euro in 2006, and presented by Lempertz as a key work of the German Expressionist in their advertisment, the oil had however never been correctly expertised. The thing is all the more surprising, knowing that the artwork was supposed to have mysteriously disappeared from the market during more than eighty-six years. Furthermore, the Campendonk eminent expert and author of the Catalogue Raisonné of the artist, Dr Andrea Firmenich, had never been invited to examine the object during its exposure before the auction despite the fact that she is also a Cologne resident.
Trasteco Ltd. legitimately lodged a complaint against Lempertz, and after the German criminal police was alerted, a deep investigation led to the discovery of more than fifty bankable forgeries all produced and introduced on the art market by the now famous couple of counterfeiters the Beltracchis. After more than four years of legal battle, Lempertz was declared to have acted with negligence by a Cologne court decision in September 2012. Meanwhile, Trastecos damages could be compensated to a large part from the forgers real estate properties in Germany and France, as Trasteco had successfully registered securities in these properties. In the recent settlement, Lempertz has now agreed, under the pressure of Trastecos first instance victory, to compensate Trasteco for all remaining damages, in particular interest and costs. The smart intuition and the reliable professionalism of the Genevan Artvera's Gallery will then, not only provided a unimpeachable service to its client, but also the dismantling of the biggest forgery case of artworks in Germany since 1945.