It seems that a ‘prominent’ New York and Miami art dealer was arrested last week on charges of selling forged paintings. If the allegations are true the art dealer, Giuseppe Concepcion, set his caliber high. The alleged forgeries include works by several famous artist-- the likes of Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall.
Prosecutors have stated that Concepcion sold customers the forgeries from a gallery he operated in Manhattan and from the Proarte Gallery in Miami. His activity is alleged to have occurred between 2005 and 2007. However, Concepcion’s lawyer, Mark Heller, has stated that no crime had been committed and that his client is a law-abiding professional who is dedicated to art and art advocacy.
Heller went on to say that Concepcion had been under investigation for several years and would be exonerated. Heller has also noted that a few of the works had exchanged hands between other art dealers and that he feels as if his client is being used as a scapegoat. Will this case expose other crooked art dealers? Only time will tell.
Art fakes and forgeries are a $12 billion industry according to the FBI’s Art Register. The recent economic downturn has spurred art collectors and investors to be more active in knowing the complete marketing history of the works they have acquired. Needless to say, I don’t think Giuseppe Concepcion will be the first to go down. The art dealers bail was set for $500,000. If convicted he may face up to 30 years in prison.
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Take care, Stay true,