“According to Investment News, a painting by French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin is at the center of an investment scandal, enacted by former NFL player Russell Allen Erxleben. The retired kicker was arrested last month after he allegedly amassed over $2 million through a complicated Ponzi plot that included an opportunity for investors to buy into the purchase of Gauguin’s “The Sorcerer of Hiva Oa,” which Erxleben claimed was worth $58 million.”
What constitutes Art Fraud. Selling a work of art you do not own, is one form of Art Fraud, along with forgery. Stacey Pierrot advertised the art work of Sandra Faulkner on the Rosamond Gallery webpage when it came out in 1996. She said Christine Rosamond painted Dunkin the Frog, when Faulkner did. Faulkner and Pierrot were hoping a investor would come forth and offer to produce these items.
The artist, Lynn Larson, is illustrating one of Faulkner’s books, and may have rendered ‘Dunkin the Frog’. I do not implicate her in any fraud.
Art forgery is the creating and selling of works of art which are falsely credited to other, usually more famous artists. Art forgery can be extremely lucrative, but modern dating and analysis techniques have made the identification of forged artwork much simpler.
“Pierrot later bought the business from the estate, royalties
from which go to Rosamond’s daughters, Drew now 11, and Shannon, 28.
Pierrot has a determined vision of where she wants the business to
go. A poster of Rosamond’s creation “Dunkin the Frog” will be
distributed to children in hospitals. T-shirts and tote bags will
also be produced featuring the whimsical character, Pierrot says. All
manner of upscale merchandising is contemplated using the images from
Rosamond’s paintings…bed linins, throw pillows and other elegant
According to Investment News, a painting by French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin is at the center of an investment scandal, enacted by former NFL player Russell Allen Erxleben. The retired kicker was arrested last month after he allegedly amassed over $2 million through a complicated Ponzi plot that included an opportunity for investors to buy into the purchase of Gauguin’s “The Sorcerer of Hiva Oa,” which Erxleben claimed was worth $58 million.
Paul Gauguin, “The Sorcerer of Hiva Oa,” 1902, oil on canvas, 92 × 73 cm (36.2 × 28.7 in), Musée d’Art moderne
The fine arts scam supposedly began in 2009 and was run under the false identity of a company called The Gauguin Partners, LLC, an organization formed by two unnamed individuals “who located and contracted to purchase“ the Gauguin masterpiece, reports The Art Newspaper. But, according to the indictment, Erxleben wasn’t actually a part of The Gauguin Partners or associated with them in any way; instead, he allegedly used the company’s name to solicit investors for money to authenticate the painting.
Confusing? There’s more: the painting in question — or at least a work of the same title, dated to 1902 — is currently in the collection of the Musee d’art moderne et d’art contemporain de Liege (Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art) in Belgium. The museum told The Art Newspaper that it is not involved in any legal discussions concerning the work and that the Gauguin painting is “inalienable” public property. Essentially, there’s no way they would be planning to sell it, for any price.
Erxleben, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding investors of $36 million back in 1999, faces up to 110 years in prison if he is found guilty for his ponzi plot, charged with five counts of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud and two counts of money-laundering, CBS reports.
This isn’t the first instance of someone attempting to make money off paintings he didn’t own, however. According to the Wall Street Journal, former art dealerLawrence B. Salander admitting to stealing millions of dollars from collectors in 2010 by luring them into investing in “fraudulent ownership interests involving works of art.” For his failed fine arts endeavor, Salander is serving a prison sentence of up to 18 years.