A group of poorly executed fake Jackson Pollock paintings with a bizarre backstory has ensnared at least three buyers—and potentially more, according to an investigation by the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR). While recent high-profile forgery scams have fooled wealthy and seasoned collectors, this latest one takes aim at unsophisticated actors in the middle market.
The story, first reported by The Art Newspaper, follows the usual art scam storyline: A group of never-before-seen works mysteriously surface, all from the same source, with a strange but too-good-to-be-true origin story. In this case, the cache of Pollocks supposedly came from a mentally unstable and reclusive German immigrant named James Brennerman who left them to his servants when he died. At least two of the paintings were purchased from a strip club owner in Roanoke, Virginia, who said he got them from the servants, according to IFAR.
The foundation’s take? Brennerman is a fictitious identity and the works are “unconvincing.”
The outlandish tale is outlined in the latest edition of the IFAR Journal. “Given the potentially large number of paintings involved and their wide circulation throughout the US, IFAR feels compelled to share what it has learned and put the public on notice about this apparent and audacious scam,” Sharon Flescher, IFAR’s executive director, and Lisa Duffy-Zeballos, IFAR’s art research director, write. read more