An artist has been charged with selling $1.9 million worth of Jackson Pollock paintings, all of which turned out to be counterfeits, the New York Post reported. New York painter John Re has allegedly been deceiving collectors since 2005, telling them a complex backstory of how he stumbled upon the paintings while cleaning out the East Hampton basement of a woman whose late husband restored antiques.
One collector picked up 58 paintings for $519,890 and another bought 12 for $894,500. Upon inspection of one of the works, however, an expert noted that certain materials in the artwork did not even exist when Pollock was alive and that some of the paint was “too fresh to have been applied by Jackson Pollock, who died on August 11, 1956,” according to one report.
ABC News also reports that Re sent one collector a series of threatening emails upon learning that he had submitted numerous paintings for scrutiny by experts at the International Foundation for Art Research. Re also allegedly asked the other buyer to lend him money and also demanded that he return the fakes.
When the FBI questioned Re in May, he allegedly argued that he presented the paintings without total confirmation of their provenance; online listings, however, labelled them as “real” or “authentic” works. Regardless of how Re may have marketed the Pollocks, we at least hope he spell-checked the signatures before selling them off.