German art dealer must repay down payment for alleged forgery


A German art dealer must repay a down payment to a buyer who was duped into buying a forged painting made to look like a work by post-war German artist Guenther Uecker of the Zero movement.

The dealer must repay the 7,500 euros (8,880 dollars) paid to him for the painting “Sandbild 1986 auf Buettenpapier’’ (Sand Painting 1986 on Handmade Paper), a court in the western German city of Dusseldorf ruled on Monday.

The buyer sued the dealer because she believed the work was forged, while the dealer claimed the picture is real and worth far more than the agreed price of 15,000 euros.

Yet the 90-year-old artist himself, known for his work with nails, testified in court that the painting was a fake.

“That’s not mine, “ Uecker told the court after inspecting the picture with a small magnifying glass. “This is the first time I’ve seen this. The signature is not mine either.’’

The court found that the art dealer should have carefully checked the authenticity of the painting before selling it. His failure to do so meant the claimant was entitled to reverse the transaction.

The dealer said he had bought the work from the son of an art shipping agent for 6,000 euros and hoped to sell it in his gallery for up to 45,000 euros. The verdict is not yet legally binding.

Uecker, along with Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, belonged to the contemporary Zero movement, founded in Dusseldorf in 1958, which aimed for a fresh start for German art after World War II. (dpa/NAN)

– Nov. 16, 2020 @ 13:59 GMT |

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