Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Master Artist Wolfgang Beltracchi and The Beltracchi Project with Manfred Esser

"Art" thou familiar with the Beltracchi Project? or Manfred Esser?

"Red Picture with Horses", faked as a Heinrich Campendonk painting,
but actually painted in Campendonk's style by Wolfgang Beltracchi
linked from Spiegel Online International

Wolfgang Beltracchi (born Wolfgang Fischer)
linked from Spiegel Online International

Confessions of a Genius Art Forger is really a great read at Spiegel Online International, because it is so exemplary of the follies of our modern age, an era in which greed and envy in overheated markets rules the world, whether this be Facebook membership, financial credit derivatives, housing bubble investors, misled judges or patent monopolists.

It is a world in which expertise is often a cloak for ignorance. Indeed, it is a world in which a master forger can believably claim to better understand the works of master artists than the art experts who he easily duped for decades. It is a world in which the master forger understood that he was essentially selling "envy", as he explained for his amazing success, and not art per se.

In our view, admitted master "forger" Wolfgang Beltracchi (born Wolfgang Fischer), in spite his forgery of many paintings over the past decades, may be the "greatest" painter as such of our era, an art era in which many imposters of no talent have laid claim to be artists and are sometimes even rewarded by investors equally lacking in art talent for their follies.

No one, on the other hand, can doubt the artistic talents of Wolfgang Beltracchi. The painting talent of Wolfgang Beltracchi is so phenomenal that he was able to paint numerous paintings in the greatly varying styles of many acknowledged masters of previous eras, then attribute those paintings to those masters, and then sell those paintings at enormous sums to a professional and lay public who paid top prices for the "envy" of owning a masterpiece. And they were masterpieces indeed, but painted by Beltracchi.

The amazing thing is that Beltracchi had no originals to copy. Rather, he "forged" paintings "lost" over the centuries, as attributed to various masters in the literature and sometimes described, but for which no original images existed. The paintings that he created were so good in imitating the masters' styles that expert and layman alike accepted them as genuine originals -- for decades.

Now THAT is artistic talent. It is one thing perhaps to copy or fake or forge the style of ONE painter. But to be able to imitate the style of so many painters -- that is art genius of a different kind. Indeed, an argument could even be made that Beltracchi's artworks -- in painting talent -- perhaps even surpass the masters in the very styles that he is imitating.

Hence, it is now the Beltracchi Project with Manfred Esser.
From photo to painting.
"Art" thou ready to take a look?

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