The temptation of famous paintings: there is a genius master behind real fakes

At the end of 2018, a British criminal named John Juwell was released from prison and quietly disappeared into people’s sight. This almost unknown name has long been number one in the British Art Crime Investigation Bureau.

Recently, an interview image called “Real Forgery” was broadcast on several European television stations, and the mystery of a century-old art crime crime that shocked Europe was unveiled in late 1999.

The confusion of famous paintings
In the early 1990s, Ms. Lisa Perlman was a senior French art historian. Once, before sending a large-scale art auction at the Sosby auction house, the world’s leading auction house, she sent her A catalogue was asked to appraise the work of a famous Swiss oil painter and sculptor Alberto Jack Medi.

Lisa Perlman is the president of the Alberto Jack Medi Group in France and has conducted intensive research on the artist and his work.

However, when Lisa Perlman saw a copy of Alberto’s paintings in the catalogue at first glance, she felt that there were many subtle details that could not stand the scrutiny, and she could almost conclude that this was a fake.

Out of the responsibility of an art scholar, she immediately contacted Sosby. But the auction house was surprised by her inference. Because as a well-known auction house, they have to carefully verify all auction items. As far as this work is concerned, it comes from the famous Hanover Gallery in the UK and has been identified by relevant experts.

The Hannover Gallery has a good reputation, so Lisa Perlman was worried that the gallery would be cheated, so she rushed to the UK in person. I don’t want the other party to say that the work has the original archives of the Ted Gallery. The so-called original archive is the history of a work of art, which records its source, creation time and background in detail, as well as the owner’s list and so on. It can be said that the quickest and most authoritative way to identify the authenticity of artwork is the original file.

Although Lisa Perlman was even more confused, she didn’t believe she would make such a serious mistake because of her professional instinct. A few days later, she came to the Tate Gallery to review the relevant original records. Soon, she saw some unobtrusive clues: in the catalogue of the Hannover Gallery, the picture of Alberto’s painting showed a brand-new clarity, whether it was a shooting effect or a photo paper, which was completely impossible It can be achieved by the photography technology of the 1950s.

Immediately, Lisa Perlman reported her suspicion to the museum, but was politely rejected by the other party. Because since the birth of each authentic piece of art, there will be fakes and fakes in the shadow. Although the counterfeiting techniques and methods have become more sophisticated and diversified with time, there has never been a “worldly miracle” of tampering with the original archives.

Suspicious and bitter without evidence, Lisa Perlman refused to issue an identification certificate due to professional ethics. In the end, Sotheby’s auction house unhappyly cancelled the sale of the painting. However, no one paid any attention to a female scholar’s doubts about the original archives of the Ted Gallery.

Four years later, Lisa Perlman suddenly heard the news: a British art dealer reported to the London Police Agency’s Art Crime Investigation Division that he had purchased the same Victorian painter from two different people Of the two works, the labels on the two paintings are the Wienard Art Museum in New York, USA, and the Sina Art Museum in London, UK, but it is strange that the labels of two art museums in different countries are designed and printed. It looks exactly the same.

The art dealer checked the original archives of one of the works. Sure enough, the original file was perfect, but it was such a perfection that surprised people. In connection with the label, thinking, this art-loving and conscientious businessman has the same doubts as Lisa Perlman: shouldn’t anyone have done something on the original file?

In fact, the London Police Force has received several similar complaints before. Although the reporter was only skeptical and could not come up with real evidence.

Unexpected break
After communication, Lisa Perlman finally met with members of the British Police Department’s Art Crimes Section in France. She told the police: “Since the Sosby auction house did not get my certificate, I had to withdraw the painting. But afterwards, someone called and threatened our Alberto Institute.” This situation immediately aroused the police’s vigilance, if There is no problem with painting. Why should we do this?

There has been a customary convention in the history of art sales, which is to ignore the origin of the items and keep them completely confidential for the buyers and sellers. So I want to check where and where those problematic paintings come from, hope is very slim.

After synthesizing the entire situation, Lisa Perlman and the British police found that many of the original files suspected of being fakes came from the Tate Gallery. So his eyes turned to this temple of art.

At the Ted Gallery, an administrator in charge of the archives category provided a clue: a man named John Juwell was suspicious.

The person had donated £ 20,000 to help the museum purchase archival equipment, and it is said that he planned to donate two famous paintings to the museum. He is personally registered as a nuclear physicist and holds titles like professors of the Physics Society. Because he established his status as an art patron at the Tate Gallery, he had unobstructed access to the original archives of all kinds of art.

John Juvill is a tall, handsome, and middle-aged man with vitality. Every time he visits the museum, he doesn’t look like an archivist. His behavior seems a bit secretive, and he seems to avoid the administrator intentionally or unintentionally. On other occasions, he introduced a so-called art researcher to check the archives, but those people were not only vulgar, but even the names of some of the investigated artists could not be written.

Although the administrator has reported the situation to the above, who wants to investigate a generous grant to the museum?

Due to the lack of funding, the Ted Gallery is not equipped with an all-weather electronic monitoring system in the archives reading room, which provides a convenient opportunity for those with ulterior motives.

According to the analysis of people familiar with the situation in the museum, if you want to do something on the original file, you can take the noon when there is only one custodian; the second is you can use the excuse to copy the information out of the library. And these two cases happened exactly to that John Juwell and his so-called friend.

However, despite all the indications that John Juvel was suspected, it is said that catching thieves and stolen goods cannot be done without real evidence.

Just as Lisa Perlman and the police were at a loss, an unexpected situation happened: a glamorous beauty who claimed to be John Joville’s girlfriend ran to the London Police Department’s Art Crime Investigation Division, claiming to sue her boyfriend for faking art and Tampered with the original files, in exchange for the police to help get custody of the child-because John Juvill and her had 13 years to find another love.

When the police officer in charge asked curiously what the “exchange terms” was, the impatient woman screamed, “My boyfriend has a lot of evidence of fraud in my hands, and the man who made the fake painting. Huh, I You have to let him taste it! ”

Soon, the woman carried a pile of documents from the trunk of the car parked in front of the police station: these seemingly odd things were fragments of art files, pictures of famous paintings, labels, and so on. More importantly, the woman who planned to fight with her disappointed boyfriend to provide a fake painter’s name, appearance and address-Mr. Maud, was a “genius painter” called by John Juwell People.

In the face of these “pies in the sky” evidence, Lisa Perlman and the police were stunned. Everything was so dramatic that it was both anticipating and unsure.

The aftermath of the end
One day in March 1999, several police cars quietly drove into an ordinary neighborhood in Staffordshire, England. It was 6am and pedestrians were almost invisible on the road.

Detective Mickey of the Art Investigation Division led eight police officers to a house. The man who heard the door opened was about 50 years old and tall. He was John Mod. At the sight of the policeman, he immediately became nervous.

Inside, the inspector found a portrait of John Maud for his son. With his many years of experience in art appreciation, it can be concluded almost immediately that the man in front of him has a fairly high level of painting.

John Maud seemed to have expected such an end, and was immediately accounted for when he was taken to the local police station: he was a middle school art teacher because he had to raise two young sons after divorce, and his financial constraints He published an advertisement in a magazine copying 20th-century master paintings, which cost £ 250 each. Soon, this legal way of earning extra money was changed by an admiring buyer, John Juwell: He was very generous and talked to Mod. After getting familiar with it, he began to ask Maud to draw some famous paintings on demand.

One day, Juwel asked tentatively: “I took one of your paintings to Oslo and sold it for a good price, 25,000 pounds. I will give you 12,500 pounds of it-mind?”

Maude’s first reaction is that it is absolutely impossible for any imitation work to sell at such a high price, unless it is genuine. But more than 10,000 pounds was too tempting for him. After a moment of hesitation, he finally licked his lips and replied, “Of course I don’t mind.” At this point, the legal transaction of imitation art began to mutate into a crime. Since then, Juwell has provided Maud with some art materials, instructing him to imitate the works of many excellent painters. Since then, the two have been “very cooperative” for 8 years.

In order to reduce the trouble and leave a way for himself, Maude used modern materials as much as possible when painting, and never inquired about the whereabouts of the fakes. But Zhu Weier, who is good at counterfeiting, has put those paintings through various “aging” treatments, so that ordinary buyers can’t see the flaws. As for those experts with professional standards, he thought of the “strange trick” of tampering with the original files.

The truth is revealed layer by layer, but to convict the sly John Juwell for forgery, solid evidence is also needed, which is the common saying to seize “the current”.

Just then, Lisa Perlman called the police in London from France and told a New York dealer to ask her to give a true picture of an Alberto painting. And after her identification, she concluded that this was also a fake, and it was the same as that of a few years ago.

What a godsend! After several consultations, a capture plan was gradually formed. On the morning of April 2, 1999, two well-dressed guests walked into the archives of the British National Victoria & Albert Museum. One of them read the catalogues of two well-known galleries that had been tampered with, and gave them expert advice. Another look, of course, the “original file” inside reassures the dealer completely. Of course, none of this has escaped eye-line surveillance by the police.

After the two broke up, the police immediately questioned the dealer in the drum. Knowing the truth, he told the police that he had recently bought this fake for 130,000 yuan, and had just paid for the so-called appraisal of Zhu Weier.

The next day, police raided John Juwell’s apartment on the outskirts of London and found falsified documents and materials in the original archives of major art collections.

After investigation, John Juwell’s fraudulent routine is more brilliant than the usual art crimes: after he asked Maud to draw fakes, he also provided the fakes to the dealers who were identified in advance to keep himself away from the fakes; at the same time, he He personally tampered with the original files of the artwork. Thanks to these three interlocking steps, many fakes have been sold as genuine without being aware of them, and even “old qualifications” such as Sotheby’s have been deceived.

The art case, which lasted for several years, was won at the end of the year. John Juwell was sentenced to 12 years in prison, while Maud, who had painted fake works, was sentenced to more than a year and released earlier. After he was released from prison, he exhibited imitation famous paintings with his own signature on the theme of “real fakes” in the Swan Street Gallery in England, because of his special identity, visitors were constantly flowing.