Studio Minuit Forgers and Artists - True Stories

According to experts, 30% of the paintings circulating on the art market are forgeries. Are any of them on your walls? Some forgers even claim their creations hang in the world's most famous museums. Truth? Urban Legend? Who knows...Fernand Legros, Wolfgang Beltracchi, these names may not mean anything to you, but they've left a stain on art history. These personalities got rich for years, by deceiving the greatest experts and the wealthiest collectors.From imitating the style of famous painters, to counterfeiting books and wines, they conned thousands of people with their innate talent: swindling. Listen to the incredible stories of the greatest forgers in art history in Forgers and Artists, True Stories.

David Stein : the legendary forger
David Stein : the legendary forger (00:12:09)
Born on January 27th, 1935 in Colombes, near Paris, Henri Abel Abraham Haddad is better known under the name of David Stein. During his life, he assumed no less than fourteen pseudonyms including, but not limited to, Philippe Ducrest, Georges Delaunay, Alain, Philippe or Michel Leroy, Jacques Bergerot, Philip Gray or Harcourt, Roger Delorme, Michel de Rivais or Anceline, Guy Lefranc, Jacques Alain de Villene, Claude Zekri...
Wolfgang Beltracchi : the prince of forgers
Wolfgang Beltracchi : the prince of forgers (00:12:01)
Of all the forgers in history, here is one who will be remembered for a long time by the art world. With his worn-out rock star look, it is hard to believe that Wolfgang Beltracchi authored over 300 fake paintings. He claims to have imitated a hundred different painters, including the cubists Georges Valmier and Fernand Léger, the expressionist Johannes Molzahn, the German Max Ernst, the Frenchmen Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy and André Derain. A counterfeit bounty estimated at over 19 million euros...
Clifford Irving : the forger in literature
Clifford Irving : the forger in literature (00:08:43)
Clifford Irving is the author of several thrillers as well as a book published in 1969 by McGraw-Hill which tells the life of the forger Elmyr de Hory. The success of this book gives him the idea to write another one : a biography of Howard Hughes, the former owner of RKO film studios, distinguished aviator and owner of the TWA airline, big industrialist and casino operator. Irving assures his publisher that he is in close personal contact with the billionaire...
Konrad Kujau and the fake diary of Adolf Hitler
Konrad Kujau and the fake diary of Adolf Hitler (00:10:27)
Konrad Kujau was born in June 1938 in the Saxony region of Germany. His childhood was marked by war and poverty. His father, a simple cobbler, was a fervent supporter of Hitler, like many Germans at the time. When he died in 1944, the family found themselves in terrible poverty. In 1945, during the bombing of Dresden, the last members of the family were dispersed. Thereafter, Konrad grew up in various orphanages in East Germany...
Ceslaw Bojarski, the Rembrandt of counterfeit bills
Ceslaw Bojarski, the Rembrandt of counterfeit bills (00:11:19)
Ceslaw Bojarski was a quiet, discreet man, born in Poland in the winter of 1912. He studied at the Polytechnic Institute of Dantzing and then, he became an officer in the Polish army during the Second World War. Taken prisoner by the Hungarians, he escaped and took refuge in France. There, he was re-enlisted in the First Polish Division...
Joyce Hatto : the forger of classical music
Joyce Hatto : the forger of classical music (00:10:52)
Joyce Hatto was born on September 5th, 1928 in Saint John's Wood, London. As a pianist, she performed on various stages, but was expelled from the Royal Academy of London. She wandered from small concerts in England to recitals. She taught for a few years at Crofton Grange, a boarding school for girls in Hertfordshire, north of London. The critics attending her performances judged her mediocre. They even expressed doubts about her ability to play Mozart or Rachmaninoff...
Michael Barret : the book forger
Michael Barret : the book forger (00:07:44)
Jack the Ripper. It's a name that makes one shudder. To some, Jack is a fictional character who never really existed. To others, he represents the most interesting police mystery in the history of criminology. The murders of prostitutes in 1888 attributed to Jack the Ripper are real, as is the mystery that surrounds them. With so much uncertainty, it is easy to understand why, a century later, Michael Barrett's so-called revelations took on such importance. Michael Barrett is said to be the author of the "original Jack the Ripper diary"...
Adolfo Kaminsky : the Da Vinci of fake IDs
Adolfo Kaminsky : the Da Vinci of fake IDs (00:09:42)
During the Second World War and for 30 more years afterwards, Adolfo Kaminsky, born in Argentina on October 1st, 1925, was a forger. Not for money, not for glory, not to denounce a corrupt system, but to save lives, with equality between men as his guiding rule....
Rudy Kurniawan : the FBI and the wine forger
Rudy Kurniawan : the FBI and the wine forger (00:12:05)
Of Rudy's childhood, we know absolutely nothing, except that he was born in Djakarta in 1976 under the name Zhen Wang Huang. At the age of 24, he shows up at a store in California, called Cellar Door Fine Wines with a bottle of wine in his hand, a 1998 Cabernet. He explains to Kyle Smith, the co-founder of the store, that it is not to his taste and he wants to sell it. From there, a friendship built around the love of wine is born...
Pei-Shen Qian : the international forger
Pei-Shen Qian : the international forger (00:09:51)
Pei-Shen Qian, born in China in 1950, is recognized as a full-fledged artist in his home country, where he has exhibited portraits of Mao since the 1970s and taught painting. But Pei-Shen also likes abstract art, and the government in Beijing does not approve of this style, which they consider decadent. So Pei-Shen immigrates to the United States on a student visa in 1981 and settles in Queens, New York. He studies at the Arts Student League with abstract expressionist painter Richard Pousette-Dart. However, he does not enjoy the same success as in his native country.
Tony Tetro and the fake paintings of Prince Charles
Tony Tetro and the fake paintings of Prince Charles (00:09:37)
Tony Tetro is a forger who recently rose to fame : a property of the British royal family belonging to Prince Charles hosts three of his forgeries. 104 million pounds sterling. That's the estimated value of the triple scam. Perhaps more. But let's start from the beginning...
Tom Keating : the man of 2000 counterfeits
Tom Keating : the man of 2000 counterfeits (00:11:20)
Thomas Patrick Keating was a british man, born in Lewisham to a poor family in 1917, during the First World War. He claimed he made over two thousand forgeries without ever accepting to identify any of them. At Keating's death, the auction house Christie's organized a sale including 204 of his listed forgeries. Where are the rest? Given his talents and the profusion of his creations, you have very probably seen some of them in museums or galleries you have visited. What is it that made Tom Keating so special? Let's find out...
The Greenhalgh family : master forgers
The Greenhalgh family : master forgers (00:11:52)
The Greenhalgh Family name is famous in the art world thanks to three of its members. First, there is Shaun, born in 1961, still living with his parents. He is what you would call a self-taught. He left school at sixteen and flunked out of the Royal Marines because he couldn't swim. The only job he held was as a shop clerk in a convenience store. No artistic education whatsoever. And yet, without him, this scheme would never have existed. He is the forger.
Eric Piedoie le Tiec and the false Césars
Eric Piedoie le Tiec and the false Césars (00:11:59)
It's the end of September 2001, in Grasse, in the south of France. A network of traffickers is dismantled, 200 forgeries are put under seal. In November or that same year, an operation is organized to arrest three people. It has taken eight years of investigation to bring eleven defendants to the stand and five days of debates to untangle the knots of the story that will follow. This is the story of Eric Piedoie Le Tiec, known simply as "Le Tiec".
Yves Chaudron and the Mona Lisa affair
Yves Chaudron and the Mona Lisa affair (00:07:04)
The portrait of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci was stolen in August 1911 by a worker, the painter-glass worker Vincenzo Peruggia. Employed for several years at the Louvre, he participated in the work of putting the Salon Carré under glass. He knew everyone at the museum and he knew the security operators. Since the museum was closed to the public on Mondays, he locked himself in one Sunday night. Dressed in a workman's coat, he took advantage of the absence of the staff in the room where the Mona Lisa was on display and simply took it down. At the turn of a staircase, he removed its frame and hid it under his coat. He calmly exited the Louvre with the painted wooden panel under his arm...
Han Van Meegeren : the disciple of Vermeer
Han Van Meegeren : the disciple of Vermeer (00:11:12)
Han van Meegeren was born on October 10th, 1889 in Deventer, in the center of the Netherlands. He dreamed of becoming a painter, but his ambitions were immediately put down by his father, a rigid teacher, who did not believe in his talent. His parents enrolled him in architecture school, but he secretly gave it up for the Fine Arts. Bartus Korteling, his traditionalist and no less rigid teacher, considered only works from the Golden Age of painting worthy of interest. He taught Han van Meegeren the techniques of the great 17th century Dutch masters : the preparation of canvases, colors and drawings.
Guy Hain : from bronze to silver
Guy Hain : from bronze to silver (00:11:18)
Guy Hain, son of a fruit and vegetable merchant, was born in 1942, in the middle of the Second world war, in Gravelines, in the North of France. He started his career as a banker and then, after his military service, turned to the trade of veterinary products. It is in this environment that he meets many amateurs of animal sculptures in bronze. At the age of 20, he becomes a collector and buys, among other maserworks, Auguste Rodin's Kiss for the modest sum of 550,000 francs. The world of antique dealers being much more exciting than that of flea markets, Guy Hain opens a gallery in Paris in May of 1979, which he names "Aux Ducs de Bourgogne".
Fernand Legros : the mystifier
Fernand Legros : the mystifier (00:10:58)
There are people you meet and can never forget. Fernand Legros is one of those : he is one of the 20th century's greatest forgers and yet, he never painted a single picture. A flamboyed, mystifier, mythomaniac, there are few verifiable elements of Legros' life...
Trailer - Forgers and Artists, True Stories
Trailer - Forgers and Artists, True Stories (00:01:13)
Forgery, the white-collar art of swindling...
David Stein : the legendary forger