WHO DESTROYS CULTURE - TRUTH OR LIES? WELCOME TO THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF RUSSIAN AVANT GARDE ART
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“The Avant-Garde is a case apart,” Hewitt adds, “because the KGB set up something of a forging industry in the field as a way of accessing gullible foreign cash. They had access to materials dating from the 1920s which enabled many of their fakes to pass chemical testing with flying colours. When researching a piece for ART + AUCTION a few years ago I was informed by one high-profile source that the post-KGB forging industry continues, with practitioners based in ships off the Israeli coast (as well as Germany).”
"Large-scale counterfeiting in Russia has been going on since Brezhnev, when the state turned a blind eye to the production of fake Kandinskys, Chagalls and others. kgb agents spirited forgeries out of the country into Western markets.
Meanwhile, Western journalists and diplomats brought home art. As Soviet Jews began immigrating to Israel and the West in large numbers, their relatives packed them off with paintings–many of them fakes–to help them earn cash in their new homelands. These works are especially tricky: They have a provenance going back 40 years (“My grandmother in Minsk gave this to me in 1965…”)."